Good morning, Prep School family,
I hope you are well and enjoying the week. I am sat writing this as I open the door and welcome many parents into school for Parents Evening appointments! I am on my umpteenth cup of coffee to keep me going today as I didn’t sleep very well last night which is very unlike me. I could usually fall asleep anywhere at any time. Seriously, I could fall asleep in the middle of the playground or Merit Assembly – when I say I can sleep anywhere, I mean anywhere! I’m not sure why I couldn’t sleep on Sunday – I went to bed about 10pm, my normal time for a school night, and fell straight to sleep. I woke up without my alarm at what I presumed to be my usual time. I got out of bed, went and put the kettle on and headed back upstairs to jump in the shower. I just so happened to glance at my watch (again, I never wear my watch to bed, I think I fell asleep before I managed to take it off) and saw that it was 11:58pm! I had another look, rubbed my eyes, and went to check my phone, now panicking that I had either slept through my alarm or that there had been a power cut and everything had gone awry. Wide awake, I went back to bed and then had a night of broken sleep and a mind racing of all of the things that I needed to do in the morning! It got me thinking about the power of sleep. How important sleep is and how we cannot function properly without it. Sleep is so important for both our physical and mental health and the need for sleep cannot be underestimated. I know that I am definitely not on top form without a decent amount of sleep and I know when I need to sleep as my mood and positivity take a nose dive. I quite often have a day nap when I can, even if it is only for 30 minutes – it really gives me the boost I need. Sleep is so important in allowing our bodies and brains to relax, heal, process and remember.
It is really interesting to know how much sleep is recommended for children and adults. I was having a conversation with my nephew about this a few weeks ago when he was telling me that he wasn’t tired through the multitude of yawns! The Sleep Foundation suggest the following amount of sleep: a 1-2 year old needs 11-14 hour of sleep (including naps) per 24 hours, 3-5 year olds need 10-13 hours of sleep per day (including naps) and 6-12 year olds need 9-12 hours of sleep per day. Adults should have at least 7 hours – easier said than done! So here are my top ten tips (borrowed from many different sources) to a good night’s sleep!
- Take time to relax
Around half the UK population suffer from stress-induced sleep problems, so it’s vital you take the time to relax before you go to bed. That might be taking a warm bath, reading a book or listening to soothing music. For some people, writing a to-do list before bed can help free your mind from worrying about all the things you need to do tomorrow. Whatever works for you.
- Get into a routine
We all know that having a routine helps babies and children fall asleep at a certain time. This applies to adults as well, because it allows your body to programme itself to naturally fall asleep and wake up at certain times. Try to be rigid about going to bed at a certain time and create your own relaxation routine.
- Avoid technology
Ban your mobile phone, computer and TV from your bedroom and avoid looking at them for an hour before bed. This kind of device emits a blue light, which suppresses the sleep hormone melatonin thus making it harder to sleep.
- Create a restful environment
Make sure your bed provides the correct support, comfort and space to ensure you wake up and move about less. Ensure that your room is the right temperature – between 16 °C and 18 °C is optimum – not too hot or not too cold. A lack of clutter, along with pale colours and pleasant smells, such as lavender, can also help create a soothing setting. Some people like a weighted blanket, others a light sheet or duvet – the choice is yours!
- Don’t clock watch
Worrying about getting enough sleep can itself stop us sleeping. The best way to deal with that is to remind yourself that resting in bed and thinking lovely thoughts is more productive than tossing and turning and looking at the clock every ten minutes. If you can’t stop checking your clock, try turning it around or putting it on the other side of the room so it’s not as easy to watch time ticking away.
- Foods for sleeping
Eating healthily improves sleep generally but some foods are particularly beneficial, such as milk, chicken, turkey and pumpkin seeds. They contain the chemicals tryptophan and serotonin, which are vital for the production of melatonin, the hormone that promotes sleep. My grandma always used to say a bowl of porridge before bed used to make for the best night of sleep, ever!
- Foods to avoid
Spicy food, adult beverages and large meals shouldn’t be consumed in the hours before bedtime. For many, adults drinking caffeinated drinks in the afternoon can affect sleep as well. Foods that are high in sugar are also viewed as bad for sleep because the energy spike and following crash you get can play havoc with your body clock. Also, research has shown that, if you don’t sleep well, you tend to turn to junk food the next day, creating a cycle of poor sleep and bad diet. I definitely know that if I am tired, I reach for the chocolate instead of the fruit bowl.
- Darkness promotes sleep
Before clocks, people would wake up when the sun rose and go to sleep when it got dark. Similarly, a darkened room helps to promote sleep and turning the lights down can make you feel sleepy. If you’re disturbed by street lights outside your window, or bright sunlight at 5am in summer, you could try heavier curtains, extra lining, an eye mask or blackout blinds.
- Keep fit and get active
Being physical is great for sleep, as well as for your health generally. However some people find that if they do vigorous exercise less than two hours before bedtime, it can make it harder to get to sleep. If you don’t find this a problem, then there’s probably no need to change. People spend a lot of time and effort exercising and making sure they eat healthily – which is great – but they forget sleeping, which is the third side of the triangle.
- Focus on sleep quality
We tend to focus on how long we’re asleep, but sleep quality is just as important. We go through five stages of sleep, which we experience in a cycle, around five times a night. During the later stages of the cycle our memories are consolidated and information is processed, among other things. This means that getting up in the night, for example, to go to the bathroom, can interrupt the cycle and you might not reach the later stages. For this reason, it’s also best to avoid having too many liquids before going to bed. A good quality day nap is also beneficial if you are tired in the day.
I have attached a post that I saw on social media over the weekend! It made me giggle as I can so relate to it these days!
Quote of the week: “We are like books. Most people only see our cover, the minority read the introduction, many people believe the critics. Few will know our content” – Emile Zola
Well-being tasks for this week: These are all based Optimistic October –Actions to help you focus on what really matters.
Tuesday 17 October – Take a small step towards a positive change you want to see in society
Wednesday 18 October – Set hopeful but realistic goals for the days ahead
Thursday 19 October – Identify one of your positive qualities that will be helpful in the future
Friday 20 October – Find joy in tacking a task you have been putting off for a while
Saturday 21 October – Let go of the expectations of others and focus on what matters to you
Sunday 22 October – Share a hopeful quote, picture or video with a friend or colleague
Monday 23 October– Be kind to yourself today, remember progress takes time
Jokes of the week:
If you think you can do any better, please send your jokes to me and I can include them in The Bulletin.
What kind of music do mummies love?
What is a monster’s favourite dessert?
How do ghosts wash their hair?
What happens when a ghost gets lost in the fog?
He is mist!
What’s a witch’s favourite subject in school?
If our whole family lives in a zoo, what animal would each person be?
What makes you feel happy?
5 things that I am grateful for or looking forward to this week:
Can you try this simple exercise in gratitude and positivity?
- I am looking forward to reading my new books over half term
- I am looking forward to going on holiday to the sun for a week
- I am looking forward to autumnal walks with friends
- I am grateful for cosy blankets
- I am grateful for the colour of the changing leaves
Sleeps til Santa: 68 sleeps. . .
Have a wonderful week and an amazing half term. Make sure you rest, relax and have plenty of fun!