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Sleep During the Pandemic

As an educator navigating through the pandemic, it is sometimes easy to forget about the importance of your own wellbeing. Whether that is ensuring you are having a balanced diet, exercising enough or practicing any type of self-care, all are equally important. A major factor in our wellbeing is sleep and notably ensuring that we are able to get enough regularly to manage and cope with the demands and pressures of the world we find ourselves in.

Sleep can often be the first thing we give up when life gets busy, including heavy workloads such as yourself and colleagues within education. When you add in the demands of your personal life it is understandable that getting quality sleep can be difficult. The amount of sleep required for each person varies, however the National Sleep Foundation advise that for an adult aged 18-64, 7 to 9 hours should be enough if done consistently. This link can take you into wider reading about sleep duration and how to improve your sleep patterns:

SLEEP FOUNDATION: How much sleep do we really need?

https://www.sleepfoundation.org/articles/how-much-sleep-do-we-really-need

Professor Colin Espie advises that alongside eating and breathing, sleep is a fundamental of life. He notes that you could survive for three times as long without food as you could without sleep. It is important to have a stable, consistent sleep schedule, aiming to go to bed at the same time each night and rise at the same time in the mornings. The following link provides a guide on how to engage with a healthy sleep routine and the importance of doing so.

SLEEPIO: Sleep Basics with Professor Colin Espie

https://www.sleepio.com/articles/sleep-basics/.

Sleep has been high on the priority for the Mental Health Foundation during the lockdown period and they have produced the PDF document on “How to Sleep Better”, which has a number of useful tips, hints and links to support your sleep health during the pandemic. They discuss the four “HEAL” pillars of good sleep and the full document can be found in the link below:

  1. HEALTH
  2. ENVIRONMENT
  3. ATTITUDE
  4. LIFESTYLE

MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION: How to Sleep Better with Professor Colin Espie

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/sites/default/files/How%20to.sleep%20better.pdf

The Mental Health Foundation have also produced a podcast on sleeping and can be accessed by clicking into the link below. The podcast is presented by Dr David Peters and is intended to listened to in bed for those who have struggles with getting to sleep. The aim is to help you relax and get prepared for sleep:

MENTAL HEALTH FOUNDATION: Wellbeing and Sleep: full works Podcast with Dr David Roberts

https://www.mentalhealth.org.uk/podcasts-and-videos/wellbeing-and-sleep-full-works

There are wider issues that can impact sleep, such as sleeping disorders. This could include sleep apnoea, snoring, night terrors, sleepwalking and insomnia. These are detailed within the Mental Health Foundation document listed above. However, if you require wider support or guidance for these issues, visit the Mind website, which can relate some of these to our mental health. There are also links for the NHS website which provide detailed information on this.

MIND

https://www.mind.org.uk/information-support/types-of-mental-health-problems/sleep-problems/about-sleep-and-mental-health/

NHS – TROUBLE SLEEPING?

https://www.nhs.uk/oneyou/every-mind-matters/sleep/

Within the NHS link, they detail TOP TIPS for a better sleep, including regular sleeping hours, creating a restful environment, more movement and physical exercise, confronting sleeplessness, writing down your worries and reducing alcohol and caffeine close to bedtime.

There are hopefully plenty of articles and resources contained within this section to support your sleep health during this pandemic as an educator. If you remained concerned regarding sleep health then please get in touch with a GP or another health professional. As detailed above, sleeping has such a profound and important impact on your mental and physical health so please look after yourself during these difficult times.

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