Senior School News

Why we Sleep

Our first week back has come and gone, with our Key Stage 3 students preparing for their exhibitions next week, focusing on identity across English, VPA and Humanities. Our lovely Year 10 embarked on their fitness activity choices in PE, whilst the Year 11 practised their beditations in their Mindfulness class. Some of our Year 12 had their interviews for Head student and the Year 13 Leadership team prepared to hand the baton onto the next Student Leadership Team next month.

It has been a joy reconnecting with our students, your children this week. I can honestly say, they are a cracking bunch, personable, talented, funny and a little bit cheeky at times too! When I ask students what they did on their break, more often than not I get the answer ‘I slept loads!’. Music to my ears as I know that many of our children don’t get the sleep and rest they need when they are at school. I suspect the same goes for us parents at times too. So, I thought I would give us all a run down on the power of sleep!

If you haven’t read Matthew Walker’s ‘Why we Sleep’, please do. Here’s what Mr Matthew Walker has to say (It will change your life for the better and worse!):

  1. ‘Stick to a sleep schedule – We should aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. People generally have a hard time adjusting to changes in sleep patterns. Unfortunately, sleeping late on weekends doesn’t make up for poor sleep during the week. If necessary, set an alarm for bedtime. Matthew emphasizes this is the #1 priority from the list; stick to a regular sleep schedule.
  2. Don’t exercise too late in the day – Exercise is great, and we should try to exercise at least 30 minutes on most days. But try to time it no later than 2-3 hours before bed.
  3. Avoid caffeine & nicotine – Colas, coffee, teas (that aren’t herbal) and chocolate containing caffeine, which is a stimulant. Even consuming these in the afternoon can have an effect on your sleep. Nicotine is also a mild stimulant, and smokers will often wake up earlier than they would otherwise, due to nicotine withdrawal.
  4. Avoid alcoholic drinks before bed – The presence of alcohol in the body can reduce your REM sleep, keeping you in the lighter stages of sleep.
  5. Avoid large meals and beverages late at night – A light snack before bed is okay, but a heavy meal can cause digestive issues, which interferes with sleep. Drinking too many fluids can cause frequent visits to the loo!
  6. Avoid medicines that delay or disrupt your sleep (where possible) – Some commonly prescribed heart, blood pressure or asthma medications, as well as some over the counter and herbal medicines for coughs colds or allergies can disrupt sleep patterns. If you have trouble sleeping, it may be worth speaking to your doctor or pharmacist to see if any of the drugs you’re taking may be contributing to this. It may be possible to take them earlier in the day.
  7. Don’t nap after 3pm – Naps are great, but taking them too late in the day can make it hard to fall asleep at night.
  8. Make sure to leave time to relax before bed – It’s important to have time before bed to unwind. Try to schedule your days so that there is time to relax before bed.
  9. Take a hot bath before bed – The drop in body temperature after a bath may help you to feel sleepy, and the bath can help you to slow down and relax before bed.
  10. Have a dark, cool (in temperature!), gadget free bedroom – We sleep better at night if the temperature in the room is kept on the cool side. Gadgets such as mobile phones and computers can be a distraction. Additionally the light they emit, especially the blue light, suppresses the secretion of melatonin. Melatonin being a hormone that regulates sleep/wake cycles – with it increasing in the evening to induce sleep’.

Hopefully, you are still awake after that and now armed with the secret to a good night’s sleep.

Whilst I understand this isn’t easy to do for ourselves, let alone those of you with teenagers in the house, I would challenge you to have sleep as a non-negotiable in your home. Good luck with this and if all else fails, buy Matthew Walker’s book for them and make them read it!

Have a restful weekend, cherish the good in your life and spend time with those you love. And it is with this I remember our own Jun Santos. A true BSM beacon and a wonderful and loved member of our community. RIP lovely Jun…x

Next Week is Week B.

Rebekah Russel
Head of Senior School

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