A good day of teaching takes a good night of sleep. But how do you get to sleep? Many teachers can relate to that Sunday night stomachache that keeps you staring at the clock, or the “New School Year’s Eve” feeling of panic as wake-up time creeps closer and you haven’t fallen asleep yet. You can’t always solve this. But sometimes you can.
Here are a few do’s and don’ts when it comes to getting that all-important night of sleep.
Do set up a good sleep routine in the days leading up to the first day of school.
You need time to transition from a lax summer sleep schedule to those 5AM wake ups.
Don’t sleep in on the previous morning.
It’s tempting, obviously. But if you’re heading to school Monday, you’ll need to be tired on Sunday night. That’s a lot more likely if you forced yourself to get up early on Sunday morning as well.
Do find a way to wind down.
The best way to get to sleep before a big day of school is. . . whatever you normally do to get to sleep. Do some calm stuff. Read a book. Meditate, if that’s your thing. And stay off your phone. The light coming out of your phone, and often the the subject matter coming out of your phone, send a combined message to your brain that it’s still go time.
Don’t do last-minute school work on Sunday night.
The last thing you think about before you go to bed is more likely to race through your mind even once your head is on the pillow. Set a cut-off time for school prep work to keep your mind.
Do log plenty of well-rested nights leading up to the big night.
Sleep builds up in your system—and so does sleep deprivation. Just in case you really have trouble that last night before school starts, it’s much better not to be riding a wave of sleepless nights.
Don’t beat yourself up if you really can’t fall asleep.
It’s pretty normal have insomnia on New School Year’s Eve or on the Sunday after a long break. Adrenaline will kick in to get you through the day even if yore tired, and you’ll probably find it easier to fall asleep after your first day back. Anyway, panicking doesn’t make things any better.
Do understand that those back-to-school dreams are normal.
Here’s a totally unscientific guide to the “bathrobe dream” and other common teacher nightmares.