In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week, we decided to examine how being a teacher can affect sleep.
A study by Ball State University found that 43% of teachers slept 6 hours or less a night, and 64% reported feeling drowsy during school hours. The study is from 2008, and with all the new curriculum requirements added in many schools since then, sleep deprivation could be worse by now. Our educators teach us many valuable lessons, but are they learning how to properly sleep?
The majority of teachers don’t stop working at the end of the school day. Classes may end at 3pm, but teachers work well into the night. They must attend after school meetings, plan lessons, and grade papers, not to mention deal with their own personal lives and obligations. These responsibilities are nearly constant, and it’s no wonder many teachers don’t have time to sleep the recommended eight hours at night. Moreover, if teachers are experiencing repeated disturbances in their sleep schedule, that could also be harming their sleep quality. According to a recent article by Sleep Report, repeated changes to your sleep schedule can cause poorer quality sleep, as you may not going through all of the necessary sleep stages.
Besides staying up late, many teachers also wake up before the sun in order to get to work on time.
Teachers work hard for their students, but the fact is a tired teacher is not a great teacher. People are more likely to make mistakes when they are sleep deprived. Teachers getting more rest will not only benefit their students, but it is important for their own health as well. According to Healthline, “Sleep deprivation can lead to [a] higher risk of chronic health problems like high blood pressure, heart disease, and stroke.”
Dealing with a room full of kids is a hard enough task when you’re well rested, so don’t let a lack of sleep make it even more exhausting.
While the amount of work will likely not dwindle, there are steps you can take as a teacher to sleep better. It can be tempting to drink that coffee at night to help you focus on grading, but avoid caffeine before bed as it disrupts sleep. Another trick? Stick to a regular sleep schedule. You make your students follow a class schedule, so lead by example. It can be daunting thinking of all the young futures you're shaping, so to avoid worrying keeping you up at night, try a warm bath before bed to relax. If you don't already do so, staying organized with a weekly planner can help manage your workload so it doesn't keep you up as much at night.
This Teacher Appreciation week, consider swapping that apple for your teacher with a sleep mask.