5 Ways to Get Better Sleep When You’re a Teacher


Teacher dreams. Teacher nightmares. Living out the classroom scene while you’re sleeping is hardly restful… Here are five tips to help transform the process of getting to sleep and sleeping well so that you can better face mornings.

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not a morning person. Like – not at all. In fact, I shared on facebook how I used to rely on Tylenol PM to help me kick my night owl habit whenever school would start back up. For real {not proud… but, for real}.

5 Ways to Get Better Sleep When You're a Teacher

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Even when I was thoroughly tired from the daily demands during my first few years of teaching, I found myself dreaming about school. Living out tomorrow’s lesson plans (talk about waking up exhausted) or rehashing out a scene over and over in my sleep… Not exactly what I’d call restful or helpful.

Getting Better Sleep as a Teacher

It took a decision to change what I allowed myself to think about while falling asleep that made all the difference. These few tips in addition to controlling how often you think about school can totally transform the way you sleep and the quality of sleep – no matter how many hours you get – or at least they did for me!

Build Yourself a Routine

This may be the most simple step to implement and I found it key to better sleep. I changed what I did in the half hour to hour before I went to sleep. Instead of watching tv or packing my school bag (I did that stuff earlier in the evening), I focused on me and/or my family. I read a book that was for personal growth or spent time talking with my husband (about non-school things).

I tried to build a routine that would let my body physically know I would be getting ready to sleep and therefore allow me to fall asleep faster. Some ideas to change up your routine – drink hot tea, listen to the outdoors or put on lotion.

Leave It At Work

It took me a good number of years to learn this one and I wish I had been more decisive about it sooner. While I understand it can be tricky to leave lesson planning or prep work at school (and there were lots of days I didn’t) it was always extremely helpful when I did.

Leaving both the mental work stuff and physical work stuff at work gave me sufficient time to wind down and focus on other things… the things that made me a better me. For me, it took me longer to learn how to leave the mental stuff in my classroom.

I started sleeping better when I had a huge chunk of hours in between the times I was in teacher mentality mode. For me, it was kinda the same principle as why the weekend is so magical. It’s not that I didn’t care about was going on at school, but that I was doing what was right for me.

Get a Good Pillow

I totally know that an amazing mattress makes a huge difference in sleep quality (and who doesn’t want to maximize the precious hours that they do sleep?) but if you’re sleeping with the wrong pillow – forget about getting a good night’s sleep.

Try out pillows and don’t be afraid to get exactly the right one. If you’re in the market for a new one, you can check out MyPillow which is what I currently use.

Fake Yourself Out

Why not help give yourself a crash course in getting to sleep fast by faking out your senses? I know there are some nights that are harder to put a school conversation or incident out of your mind in order to fall asleep.

One go-to solution would be to sleep with an eye-mask. You make it darker and help block out distractions. Once you slip it on – repeat the word “sleep” to yourself until you are sleeping!

A more gentle solution that I’d recommend over a sleep aid like I shared above would be to use a (affiliate) calming essential oil like lavender. You simply rub a swipe across your chest before you call it a night. This way you can encourage that feeling of relaxation and soothe both your mind and body after a hectic day.

Ditch the Snooze Button

I hated this tip. Yeah, I like my snooze button… But ditching it totally worked. I felt more rested when I wasn’t waiting to hit the snooze again, nor lying sluggishly awake trying to enjoy the fact that I still had 7 more minutes to sleep.

One alternative that made it easier was to try a smart phone app to change it up.

I tried an app that tracked my sleep cycles. Placing my phone next to my pillow (and I guess it sensed my phone’s movement throughout the night) it would wake me up during my lightest stage of sleep in the half-hour window I’d give it in the morning.

I seriously woke up a happier person on most mornings when I wasn’t woken out of a deep sleep. And if you combine that with falling asleep faster, I quickly became thrilled with getting a hold on these teacher-related sleep issues. Being a night person – better sleep is totally important to me! Can you relate?

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