Health and wellbeing

Theme of the week: sleep

Just over a third of our lives are spent asleep. However, there is real value to the time we spend in bed – our increased understanding of the neuroscience of sleep has informed our knowledge of both ophthalmology and mental health. So what is the science of sleep?

Our sleep-wake cycle tends to be regulated by our social clock, meaning we sleep according to when we want to sleep rather than when our circadian rhythm is telling us that we need to sleep. 

Professor of Circadian Neuroscience at Oxford University, Russell Foster, explains that, “The link between sleep, health and mental wellbeing has long been known about,” but it was recent research that proved “mental illness and sleep disruption share overlapping brain pathways” that caused much interest. The next step, said Foster, was to work out “could we stabilise sleep and have a positive impact on mental illness?”

Sleep challenge

  1. Go to sleep at the same time every night for the whole week (within 15 minutes either way of your set time). 
  2. Wake up at a set time every day, which remains the same for the whole week. For example, Mr Pavey’s routine is bed at 10.30pm and up at 7.00am every day. 
  3. Make a note of how successful you are when trying this and then how this makes you feel – especially on days three to seven.

You can find out more about this week’s theme on our Firefly page.

GPB

Health and wellbeing podcast

I’m very pleased to announce that Abdullah Hussein and I will be putting together a short, weekly podcast during lockdown. We will be talking about how we can all improve our mental and physical health during lockdown, and we will be getting a guest each week.

Our first episode will have a short introduction, where we’ll discuss how we’ve found the past week and introduce ourselves and our guest – who will be Miss McMillan. We’ll then transition into a discussion of current affairs, talking about the Covid-19 situation, measures currently being taken and other topical stories. From there we will push further onto the main body of the first episode, how exercise and keeping fit affects not only our physical wellbeing but our mental health as well. We will talk about how sports can influence the spread of the virus and how sports clubs have responded to the virus. We will then press on into the actual effects of sport on mental wellbeing, probably also mentioning KES-based ways of helping everyone. Our final segment will discuss when we think sports will restart, what an effect reopening gyms could have on the curve, and the school’s own policy regarding sports post-pandemic. There’s an overview, we look forward to seeing who’s listening!

Ben Maguire

Author: GPB and Ben Maguire