World Sleep Day Podcast

Our dynamic trio, wrapping the podcast recording session

It’s World Sleep Day, and the podcast that Dr Mike Farquhar and I made with Jenny Fox and Sam Harvey from the PSHE Association goes live today. It’s about the Sleep Factor lesson plans that we made in collaboration, and sleep more widely. We hope you enjoy it.

We are really proud of the lessons that fit into the curriculum at 3 Key Stages, timed to be towards the end of primary school, the beginning of secondary school, and in the run up to GCSEs. We hope they will inform, educate and entertain, and give a generation useful sleep expertise that they can share with others.

We’re also really pleased with how the story has been picked up by the media, with stories in The Guardian, a piece on BBC breakfast news, and interviews with radio stations all over the UK – pick one if you’d like to have a listen:

BBC Radio Nottingham Sleep Interview
BBC Radio Surrey Sleep Interview
BBC Radio Leeds Sleep Interview
BBC Radio Ulster Sleep Interview
BBC Radio Shropshire Sleep Interview
BBC Radio Lincolnshire Sleep Interview
BBC Radio Lancashire Sleep Interview
BBC Radio Derby Sleep Interview
BBC Radio Cornwall Sleep Interview
BBC Radio Cambridgeshire Sleep Interview
Bolton FM Sleep Interview

In relation to sleep, there are some ways to achieve quick wins to boost sleep quality and time. Some of them are things you can do during the day, and as with all habit change, gently nudging yourself towards the hoped-for behaviours is more likely to be successful than making drastic changes that require more upheaval. Here’s some potential quick wins:

  • Get up as soon as possible after your alarm first sounds. If you find you’re snoozing it every day, consider just setting it to the time you actually get up, and enjoy the benefits of an extra hour or two of sleep per week.
  • Aim to get at least 20 minutes of daylight as soon as possible after waking up. If you can walk to school/work, this could be a great way to do this, and the exercise will help with your sleep too.
  • In the evening, winding down towards bed time will help cue your body into sleep. Try to avoid screen-based media in the hour or so before bed time.
  • This is a biggie – keep smart devices out of bedrooms. We find that parents often want their children to do this, but are unwilling to do it themselves. This can lead to children feeling singled out, annoyed by the double standards, and less likely to keep phones out of their own rooms. We know that even if phones are not being used in the night, their presence in teens’ bedrooms leads to a reduction in total sleep time of an hour per night on average! The DScout study found similarly deleterious patterns of nocturnal phone use in adults. To encourage good modelling of sleep practice, we encourage the use of a family charging station, where everyone puts their devices after a certain time, hopefully followed by calm activities together. This means the phones are out of the rooms, and hopefully builds in some positive family time.

Sleep, mood, pain perception, learning and physical health are all interlinked. By prioritising sleep, we usually find there are improvements in all of the other areas, and there are potentially big gains to be had with relatively minor adjustments.

Happy World Sleep Day!

By charlie

I have worked therapeutically with people for over a decade across a wide range of settings, helping individuals, couples, families and groups across the full age range address their concerns with anxiety and mood, sleep, chronic health conditions and other issues.If you are considering therapy, please get in touch via the Contact Me page and we have an initial 20 minute consultation for free by phone or video call to discuss your concerns, and see if you would like to proceed with me.Psychological support offers the opportunity to introduce another mind to help with processing experiences or information that might be too emotionally charged to work through alone.