Fully charged or running on empty? Top Ten Sleep Tips for Teachers

Do you recognise this person?

Sleep deprived, but in denial (“I don’t need much sleep that’s why I wake up so early and stay awake”).

Managing the day to day demands of classroom life like everyone else.

Until the staff meeting…

Almost imperceptibly eyes grow heavy and then suddenly there is a head jerk, back to full (?) or partial consciousness, trying to look as if nothing has happened but knowing inside that for a few brief moments, sleep has won. Despite every effort to resist it happening again, the cycle repeats itself and sleep gains quite a few more home wins before the meeting ends.

“Woodpeckering”, as it is affectionately known, happens in many staff rooms.

Those who woodpecker share an unspoken gratitude towards those colleagues who have seen them in action but were kind enough to look the other way.

We all know teaching is a balancing act. Researching, reflecting, recording, planning, preparing, collaborating … in striving to maintain that balance the amount of high quality sleep we achieve each night can become compromised. It’s not just active minds at the end of a day, sometimes that end of the day is reached far too soon. Who hasn’t stayed up later than planned to finish the marking or just to extend that small window of “me time” at the end of a busy day ?

The 2020 UK Teacher Wellbeing Index highlighted a 15% increase in insomnia or difficulty in sleeping.

How can we counter this worrying trend ?

Remarkably, the very concepts used in the classroom can apply to our sleeping habits too.

1. Prepare well.

Daily exercise and time outdoors have been proven to aid sleep. Even a brief walk each day can make a difference.

2. Get the environment right.

Your sleeping space should be just that, a place where you go to close your eyes and rest. A distraction free zone (especially tech free) will help you leave wakefulness behind.

3. Be “in the zone”.

Calming activities like reading, yoga or listening to music can help you to unwind from the busyness of the day.

A warm bath can be an excellent way to relax.

4. Establish boundaries.

Caffeine can have a long-lasting effect. If you can stop consuming all caffeine products (including energy drinks and chocolate) by 3pm you will notice a positive difference.

5. Be consistent.

Your body responds positively to going to sleep and rising at the same time each day, even at weekends if you can.

6. Timetable your screen time.

The blue light emitted from smartphones and tablets suppresses melatonin, a hormone that supports your body’s natural sleep cycle. Switching off these screens two hours before bedtime is recommended.

7. Dress appropriately

An eye mask can be invaluable in blocking out distracting light, especially during the summer months.

If you are a particularly light sleeper, you may find ear plugs useful too.

8. Pay attention to the bell.

By setting an alarm on your phone to remind you that it is time to start preparing for bed you will find it easier to be in bed at your planned bedtime (and less likely to be distracted by the “just finishing” little jobs that can steal your time away!)

9. Create a familiar routine.

A consistent set of evening rituals that form part of your bedtime routine (e.g. having a bath, writing a gratitude diary, meditating) will help you start unwinding.

10. Do your homework.

By paying attention to your energy levels throughout the day you will discover how much sleep you need to maintain your optimal performance. If you can then plan your 24 hour day to allow yourself to achieve this optimal level of sleep you will find your energy, creativity and wellbeing will soar!


Are you having trouble sleeping ? Do you long to drift effortlessly off to sleep and awake each morning restored and refreshed ?

Through hypnosis, we can transform this longing into your new reality.

Contact me to learn more.