Improving Sleeping Habits - Mill Hill Schools

Head’s blog

Improving Sleeping Habits

Sleep is vital to our well-being, as important as the air we breathe, the food we eat, is known to us all. Unfortunately, specifically at the time when sleep is most needed, during adolescence, the biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for sleeping and waking. It is reported that teens need between eight and ten hours of sleep, but only 15% manage to get enough sleep with the majority having irregular sleep patterns.

The arrival of the smartphone has exacerbated the problem: the temptations to stay up late into the night and early hours of the morning playing video games, watching YouTube and connecting on social media can prove irresistible.  Unfortunately, in addition to the adverse effects on our bodies, lack of sleep limits our ability to learn.

Last year, we invited a company called Happy Sleepers to give a talk to our boarders about how to improve their sleep. There were many useful tips, summarised here:

  • Establish a bed and wake time and stick to it. There’s no ‘banking’ sleep – you can’t catch up on missed sleep, so better to avoid waking up late as the sleep patterns will be disturbed. A consistent sleep schedule will help you feel less tired since it allows your body to get in sync with its natural patterns. This is especially important during holiday time when there is a greater temptation to stay up late and get up later.
  • Limit fizzy drinks and chocolate close to bedtime. In fact, don’t eat, drink or exercise just before bedtime.
  • Don’t study just before sleeping and try to avoid computer, TV and telephone in the hour before going to bed. Stick to quiet, calm activities. Choose a book over a kindle/iPhone.
  • Try and establish a bedtime routine which teaches your body the signals that it is time for bed.

Here’s wishing everyone a happy and restful Half Term holiday.