It goes without saying that there are a string of benefits to not just our students, but the entire BIS community to establishing a good sleep routine. Sleep provides both your mind and body with the power to keep moving and thinking, which are essential components both in and outside the classroom.
More specifically, sleep has a positive effect on physical health and mental wellbeing which are extremely important for students in education. Physical health is essential as it will give students the energy to actively engage in PE lessons and sport-based ECAs. When someone is well-rested, they also tend to feel happier and more optimistic. They feel less frustration and anxiety. Sleep also enhances cognitive ability so students are able to problem solve and think more creatively, enhancing their learning capabilities.
Unfortunately, it’s very easy for our students to get into the habit of falling asleep late, whether it’s because they’re doing work, watching TV shows or scrolling through Facebook. It’s important that they are encouraged to break that cycle and find a sleeping regime that allows them to get the 8-10 hours needed at their age. (National Sleep Foundation)
How does sleep work?
Our sleep patterns are regulated by 2 biological mechanisms;
- Sleep-Wake Homeostatic Process - this is an internal timer which records when you last slept and how long for and produces the desire to want to go to sleep.
- Circadian Clock - this synchronises your biological processes with the day and night cycle, so you stay awake in the day and want to sleep at night.
Why can we sometimes not sleep?
By exposing ourselves to artificial light before we go to bed, such as from the TV or our mobile phones, we dampen the secretion in our brains of melatonin which is the hormone that makes you feel tired. Essentially, we are tricking our bodies into believing it’s daytime, confusing the circadian clock and staying awake longer than we should.
How can we ensure our children get enough sleep?
The Sleep Health Foundation has 4 Top Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep that apply to our students here at BIS HCMC;
1. Have a regular sleep pattern
Pre-establishing a bed time is an excellent way for students to get to bed on time and create a healthy sleep routine. It might be useful to set an alarm as a reminder of when it’s time to go to sleep.
2. Spend the right amount of time in bed
As we mentioned above, children should be getting 8-10 hours sleep so you should encourage them to aim for this amount to improve their concentration.
3. Bed is for sleeping
When in bed, the mind needs to be focussed on sleeping, not on Facebook, a TV programme or homework. Being mentally active and around artificial light will have a negative impact on being able to sleep effectively. So ensure your children have no distractions when they get into bed to get a proper night's rest.
4. Wind down & relax before going to bed
Performing a wind down ritual to relax can be very useful. This will be different for everyone but may include, taking a shower, some light reading or meditation. Encourage your children to perform a wind down ritual before they go to bed every night so that it becomes a regular part of their routine.
For more information on how to get to bed on time and stop losing sleep, watch this video by Thomas Frank, the founder of College Info Geek...