Many teachers would be better off if they left their classrooms for good after the bell rings. You can see them walking around at recess or lunch, shoulders slumped, eyes bloodshot, looking like they just ran a marathon.
Some of this is surely because they are tired from being around hundreds of children, but running on adrenaline, caffeine, and hope is never a good strategy for getting through the day.
What's really happening when you don't get enough sleep?
Not getting enough sleep can mess with your emotions, your appetite, your mental health, and your physical health. If you're not getting enough sleep, you're not doing your body any favors. Sleep deprivation has been linked to weight struggles, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke.
Sleep is more than just a time for relaxation. Your body needs time to rest and recover. If you don’t lie down to sleep, you can’t unwind enough to recover. Good sleep habits mean your body is regulated properly, so you can embody the best and most vital mental and physical performance.
One of the best ways to get quality shuteye is by taking a hot bath or shower before bed. To relax and prepare for bed, take a warm bath with Epsom salt and lavender essential oil. Epsom salt helps relax the muscles and lavender brings the calm.
Set a firm bedtime. Make a bedtime routine and stick to it, even on weekends. Make it clear for your body and brain when you’re ready to go to sleep.
Stay organized, and set habits to help you get enough sleep
The most important thing you can do to help you get enough sleep is to stay organized. When you’re organized, it’s easier to see what you have to do that day or in the near future. This will help you manage your time well and take care of your responsibilities so you can get enough sleep.
Technology seems to disrupt our sleep cycles as much as we’d like to disbelieve it. Some of the disruption is mild; some of it is terrible.
Too much smart phone use can actually make it harder to fall asleep at night. The obvious solution: Turn off your phone and get into the habit of getting good sleep.
You can also do some light exercise. Rather than leaving exercise to chance, plan an easy 30–45 minutes of easy bodyweight exercises before bed. Exercise increases melatonin levels, the hormone released in the brain after you fall asleep, and is supposed to ease your nerves.
Teachers have a hard job
It is easy to understand why we would be tempted to work through the exhaustion, fueled by coffee and adrenaline, our sleepiness a background hum that we tune out as best as they can. But it is a bad idea.
Sleep deprivation affects your judgment and your mood, neither of which is good for making you a good teacher. And even if you manage to push on through, sleep deprivation takes a toll on you. You will not be as sharp as you need to be.
The key takeaway from this article is to be honest with yourself about how much sleep you are getting. If you are not getting enough, then it’s time to rethink your priorities.
Your students deserve a teacher who is well rested, and if that means taking some time to rest, then it’s time to take that time.
One of the best parts of teaching is having the opportunity to make an impact on each student one at a time. You’ll find that working through exhaustion will hurt your ability to make that impact, and ultimately hurt the learning experience for each individual student.