As a teacher, you spend your days with your students and your free time thinking about those students. Each child is precious, and you’re shouldering part of the responsibility of their care. Plus, you sometimes deal with children with challenging behaviors or learning challenges that affect your teaching ability. It’s no wonder you are tired!
Taking time to relax and get good sleep is the best way for you to continue to pour into your students every day. School breaks are a great time to get some much-needed R&R, but it’s important to incorporate rest into your daily life to avoid burnout.
Keep reading for tips on relaxing and getting restful sleep — the Bloom community is here to help.
Why Sleep is Important for Teachers
Teachers carry a heavy workload. They prepare materials to teach their classes and navigate full daily schedules. On top of that, each student has a unique personality that requires individualized care. To stay positive, productive, and able to tackle the day's challenges, teachers need good quality sleep.
The Sleep Foundation recommends that adults between the ages of 18 and 64 years old get between 7-9 hours of sleep a night, and teachers are no exception. On average, we spend approximately a third of our life asleep, which is a significant amount of time. If the quality of your sleep isn’t good, the possible implications are vast. Adverse reactions to a lack of sleep include irritability, poor decision-making, overeating, and overreactive behavior.
Sleep Impacts Mental Health
It’s hard to be positive when running on an empty tank. Lack of sleep can make you more susceptible to mental health problems like depression and anxiety. Sleeping helps repair our brains, not just our bodies.
Sleep Impacts Physical Health
Sleep deprivation has been linked to various illnesses and chronic conditions. Insufficient sleep affects multiple physical systems and even heart health. Deep sleep is an important time for the body to repair and recuperate. Sleep deprivation can contribute to heart problems and may increase the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes, and stroke.
Sleep Impacts the Brain
Keeping up with students all day long can be advantageous yet tiring. Recent studies have suggested that individuals with insufficient or excessive sleep durations are more likely to experience cognitive decline. Good quality sleep keeps your mind and body sharp, and as a teacher, there’s no doubt you need that!
How to Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Many people wind down by going through their day, replaying in their minds how they interacted with others and all the decisions they made. Night-time rituals can support a healthy sleep pattern. It’s not perfect, but it works most of the time. And in many cases, most of the time is good enough. Here are six tips for getting some restful slumber:
- Practice good sleep hygiene: Make a nightly routine, and stick to it! Be sure to incorporate some of the activities listed below to make a calming nighttime routine.
- Do yoga or light stretching: Find a calming yoga routine on YouTube to follow before you head to snooze-town. A quick 10-minute routine is all you need.
- Drink a warm beverage: Make yourself a warm beverage an hour before bedtime. For example, it could be nighttime tea, milk, or coconut water.
- Avoid screen time: Avoid looking at electronics such as a TV or phone for at least a half hour before bedtime, unless it’s something brief and helpful, like a YouTube video for your yoga routine.
- Pick up a book: Some people find that reading before bed helps put them to sleep. Choose something that interests you but not that will hook you and keep you awake. Self-help books or books about a hobby you enjoy could be good for this situation.
- Dealing with your anxiety: If you’re unable to fall asleep or wake up in the middle of the night and can’t get back to sleep, try not to get anxious about it. Instead, think about a happy thought that brings you joy (like a vacation or designing a new kitchen), or take out a notebook to jot down the things running through your mind to review in the morning. It can also be helpful to talk it out with someone you trust.
Take a Nap, Increase Water Intake
If all else fails, remember that hydration is a powerful tool for well-being. Extra water intake can help combat sleep deprivation. It is one of the best tips for new parents especially. You may not always be able to increase your sleep, but you can always increase your water intake to help you adjust as you’re implementing habits to get better sleep.
You Deserve Wonderful Rest
Teachers are overworked and exhausted. After several years spent navigating the global pandemic, sleep should be considered a necessity rather than a luxury. Educators have been at the forefront. Please take the time to care for yourself by establishing good sleep habits. You deserve it.
At Bloom, we support families, children, and educators/caregivers, providing everyone with a chance to pave a path for every child. Join the Bloom Community today.