How We Used to Sleep

School Resources

The history of sleep in the Renaissance

Want to take a fresh look at medicine through time with your students?

If so, you might be interested in teaching them about sleep’s history in the Renaissance. By focusing on sleep – something that we all do and have an opinion on – students can be introduced to changing medical understandings of the body (for example, the four humours), what was believed to cause and cure disease, how our ancestors engaged in preventative healthcare practices, and how people’s religious beliefs and physical environments played a crucial role in maintaining health and wellbeing.

We have a range of interactive educational materials that can be downloaded and adopted (or adapted) to fit within the GCSE History curriculum and within the Primary Key Stage 2 Curriculum. We have workshop plans, online videos, worksheets, quizzes, blog posts and more to support your classroom activities.

The added bonus of teaching sleep’s history is that it offers an excellent way of getting students to think about their own sleeping habits and how they relate to their physical and mental health. Evidence suggests that up to 40% of Britain’s children are currently suffering from some form of sleep deprivation, which affects their performance in the classroom. Help your students to improve their health and their historical knowledge in a fun and unusual way by downloading our free online resources. These resources have been developed by a leading academic in sleep’s history, and her project team at the University of Manchester.

Watch the videos