13 March, 2023

Why all Northbridge students need a full night of sleep

Why all Northbridge students need a full night of sleep-Why all Northbridge students need a full night of sleep-Instilling-Healthy-Sleep-Habits-in-Preschoolers
Why all Northbridge students need a full night of sleep

Erik McDonel
MYP Science Teacher

All of us at Northbridge International School Cambodia have busy schedules, and sometimes it’s difficult to fit everything in. However, it’s vitally important that all of us (including our students) are getting enough sleep every night.

In this blog post, I’m going outline some of the reasons getting enough sleep is so important and also list some ways to ensure you and your children get enough sleep. 

Contrary to popular belief, you don’t get sleepy because you’re out of energy. In fact, the average person technically has enough energy stored in their body to survive an entire month without new energy put into the body (in the form of food).

If we have so much energy stored in our body, why do we need sleep at all? The answer to that question is wear and tear.

In a way, your body is like a car. Every moment you’re driving your car, you’re causing damage to the moving parts, slowly wearing it out. Your body isn’t very different. Everything you do causes damage to your muscles, joints, bones, and even your heart and brain.

You have systems in place that constantly repair this damage, but while you’re awake, you’re damaging your body faster than it can repair itself. The only way for your repair systems to catch up is to have a period of time in which you aren’t active.

When your body knows it needs time to catch up on repair, your brain sends out chemicals that make you sleepy. If you’ve been very active that day, your brain may cause you to feel even more sleepy than usual or at an earlier time than typical. That’s because repair is needed more badly than usual. It may even be that you need to sleep more hours that night to repair damage caused by your tough day. 

If you don’t sleep long enough on a regular basis, it can cause all sorts of long-term problems, including an increased chance of depression, heart disease, high blood pressure, premature aging, ease of injury, illness, stroke, and is even linked to a higher rate of cancer in the long run.

Adults should get eight hours of actual sleep and school-aged children should aim to get ten.  

What can you do to get enough sleep? Here are some tips:

  1. The light emitted by mobile phones, televisions, and tablets has been proven to confuse the brain into thinking it’s still daytime, delaying your sleep. All screen time should end one hour before it’s time to sleep.
  2. Have a bedtime routine. If you have to wake up at 6am every morning for school or work, always go to bed at the same time to get eight hours of sleep. Brains remember routines and will be more likely to produce sleep chemicals at a certain hour if it’s used to that routine.
  3. Consider playing some white noise at a soft level at bed time.
  4. Read a paper book (not on a screen) in bed, starting one hour before you actually need to be asleep.
  5. Avoid all caffeine in the evenings.
  6. Sleep in a room that is completely dark.

I hope this blog post helped you understand the importance of sleep, as well as ways to get more sleep.

 

For further information about sleep, check out these articles:

Why Do We Sleep?

How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?

Health Risks of Not Getting Enough Sleep