Sleep can be your secret weapon – a mental health wellbeing article

Our team of SEND Teaching Assistants have been using some of their time during the latest national lockdown to engage with online material and courses to better understand how we can best support our students at Plantsbrook School.

Mr McLoughlin shared his recent findings on ‘sleep deprivation’ with our Inclusion Team and we thought what he found would be very useful to share with our parents/carers and students too.

During the Covid pandemic, the changes to our routine means that sleep has been more variable. The benefits of good sleep cannot be under-estimated.

Why is sleep our secret weapon?

Alongside a healthy diet and lifestyle with regular physical activity and time to relax, sleep brings wellbeing benefits to all ages. Young people are growing rapidly and need adequate rest, yet often sleep very late and sleep deprivation can build up very easily.

A good night’s sleep is good for our physical health – including our heart and immune system which fights against infection and disease, as well as helping maintain a healthy weight. It is also vital for our mental health and emotional well-being.

The impact of a lack of sleep

1) Feeling tired all day impacts our energy levels. Children who sleep less can struggle to perform at their best in lessons.

2) Fatigue causes irritability and can increase all our stress levels. Children who are tired worry more and are less focussed in lessons.

3) Sleep deprivation impacts all our awareness levels. Children can struggle more with remembering information. Good quality sleep helps the brain to commit knowledge learnt to long term memory.

Helping achieve a good night’s sleep

A few tips-

1) Establish a regular bedtime routine for your children, this will mean their body clock feels tired at the same time and help achieve a better night’s sleep.

2) Avoid caffeine or sugary drinks 1-2 hours before bedtime, as these stimulants disrupt sleep.

3) Avoid letting your children play on their phones or other electronic devices 1-2 hours before bedtime. The blue light emitted from devices even when finished playing, can prevent falling over to sleep.

4) Relaxing at bedtime by reading, has been reported to help the brain relax and so you are more likely to get a good night’s sleep.

 

In conclusion, studies have shown that young people need an average of 9 hours sleep a night. The more rested our children are, the more opportunity they have to achieve our School motto to of ‘Be the best that you can be!”

 

Mr A. McLoughlin – Teaching Assistant at Plantsbrook School

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