Are teachers getting enough?
According to Emily Melynn Alexander, teachers could be missing out on one of the most important things they need to be successful in their careers: plenty of good-quality sleep.
With so much pressure resting on their shoulders, teachers often struggle to shut off at the end of a long day of dealing with students and marking papers. A study by the Ball State University discovered that 43% of teachers often sleep less than 6 hours each night. On top of that, around 64% of educators felt drowsy during school hours. Even with help from professional teams and support networks, there’s still a chance that today’s teachers could be seriously sleep-deprived. So why is sleep such a serious issue for teachers?
Teachers have a terrible sleeping schedule
Most people assume that teachers have a relatively easy day. When the school bell rings at around 3 pm, many parents believe that teachers exit the school building at the same time as their students. However, the truth is that many teachers stay in their classrooms until well into the evening, grading papers, planning lessons and attending meetings.
Even if a teacher gets home early, their workday is seldom done. A lot of teachers spend hours researching so that they can better support their students. What’s more, aside from just going to bed late, teachers often wake up early too since they strive to ensure that they’re prepared for the day ahead.
Unfortunately, while a teacher’s commitment to their job can be very inspiring, it’s worth noting that a tired teacher may not be as effective as they want to be. In general, people are more likely to make mistakes when they’re exhausted. According to Healthline, sleep deprivation also leads to a higher risk of chronic health issues like heart disease and high blood pressure. In the long run, unhealthy teachers might spend more time away from work, meaning they wouldn’t be able to give their students the support that they’d need.
Teachers need more sleep
Dealing with a room full of students, no matter their age can be a difficult task even when you’re well-rested. Lack of sleep can make the concept of teaching seem overwhelming and exhausting. Not only are teachers more likely to feel groggy when they’re sleep-deprived and unable to focus, their cognitive function can also suffer.
When we don’t get the right amount of sleep each night, certain areas of the brain suffer from less blood flow than usual. This means that a lack of oxygen in the brain starts to impede cognitive performance. Problems can arise, such as issues with critical decision making, concerns with memory loss or even lack of concentration.
When it comes to lack of sleep, it’s not just a teacher’s thought processing abilities that suffer either. Emotions are also affected. Even the most experienced educational professionals can attest that teaching can be a stressful experience. While you might not be able to prevent stress completely as a teacher, getting enough sleep may help control your anxiety. When you don’t get enough sleep, the amygdala in your brain, which is responsible for emotional regulation, struggles to perform. This means that teachers can experience the stressors of jobs much more intensely without sleep.
How can teachers get a good night’s sleep?
The good news for teachers is that life as an educator doesn’t have to come at the expense of having a restful sleep. Though teachers are a huge part of our community, they’re also human beings that require regular rest to function properly and need to start to looking after themselves by establishing a good sleeping schedule.
Preparing for sleep each night can make it easier to reduce your risk of sleep deprivation. The human body thrives on routine. If you make sure that you go to bed at approximately the same time each night and wake up at about the same time each morning, then you would have established a habit that would contribute to waking up feeling more rested and relaxed.
Once you’ve established a consistent sleep schedule, make sure that you stick with it, even during the weekends and holidays. You may also benefit from devising a pre-sleep ritual that you can do to settle yourself down for sleep each night.
What’s more, a yoga or meditation session can help to relax your muscles in time for bed, while a relaxing bath or cup of tea can get your mind into the right status for sleeping.
Good teachers need good sleeping patterns
As a teacher, your job is to mould the minds of others with your insights and teachings. However, you can only do that when your mind and body is working at its optimum. A strong sleeping strategy will help you to counter sleep deprivation, and make sure that you’re ready to inspire your pupils.
Emily Melynn Alexander is a Sleep Expert writing for Sleep.Report. She was born on the east coast of the USA but has called Colorado home since 2000. Emily has a degree in English and Political Science from Metropolitan State University of Denver and loves two things – sleep and travel. When she is not busy writing for sleep.report, she treks and snoozes in different countries.
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