Sleep is underrated

Get more sleep.Notice how refreshed you felt during the summer and how you were probably ready to get back to school with a sense of renewal. And after a week or two of school that starts to slip away.  Researchers Amschler and McKenzie at Ball State University surveyed 109 educators. They found that:

43% of teachers slept an average of 6 hours or less each night (that is less than they need, and less than the national average). 64% reported feeling drowsy during the school day. About 25% of teachers reported that their teaching skills are weakened and about 50% admit to missing work or making errors due to lack of sleep. They also report more mood swings and are at risk for more health problems.

You and I know that teaching is a never ending job.Teachers are going all day long . . . and many have other after-school responsibilities.

If you are going to get yourself to bed earlier, it means you have to become more efficient with your work time. Get to school 30 minutes early day and have a designated uninterrupted spot and get to work. Imagine how much you could accomplish with 30 minutes of uninterrupted time. Same thing after school. When your last student leaves. Put the closed sign up and get to work. Take as little work home as possible. I know there are emergencies, but make it a habit to get your work done at school whenever possible. (Some of you enjoy relaxing on Saturday morning grading papers at your own leisure. And if that works well for you then fine. But if you feel like you lose your personal life during school season consider keeping work at school.)

Back to sleep . . . For some of you, when your head hits the pillow, you are out. You could sleep through a hurricane. For others, you may feel tired but have difficulty getting to sleep or staying asleep. Here are some tips for more restful sleep:

1. Transition Time: Create a transition time between busy and sleep. Spend between 10-30 minutes winding down after turning off your computer screen or TV. Go into a darkened room and just sit in silence for a while. As your body becomes still, your mind will follow.

2. Worry Log: If possible, write down anything that is bothering you in a worry log. It’s best to do this early in the evening, instead of right before bed. By writing it down before sleeping, you have acknowledged it and are less likely to ruminate about it.

3. Fast: Don’t eat or drink for at least 1 hour before bed.

4. No Snoozing: Don’t use a snooze button. It’s better to get continuous sleep all the way up until you need to rise.

5. Internal Clock: Get sunlight as soon as possible after waking to help set and stabilize your internal clock. If possible, do a brief (10 minute) walk in the morning to wake you up.

-Ernie Mendes

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