All school leadership roles are demanding, but this year’s survey findings underline the high personal costs of being a leader; this year’s well-being indicators for school leaders make for particularly hard reading. With 56% of education staff reportedly suffering from insomnia and difficulties sleeping, increasing to 83% when regarding those in leadership roles, it is evident that insomnia is a very prominent issue that needs to be addressed within the education sector.
After a recent interesting conversation with one of our senior leaders about her inability to sleep during the workweek due to high levels of anxiety about work, we wanted to highlight the issue of work insomnia as we know it is something we all struggle with in education.
As defined by the Sleep Foundation, Insomnia is a “persistent difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation or quality.” With 56% of education staff reportedly suffering from insomnia and difficulties sleeping, insomnia is a very prominent and important issue that needs to be discussed within the education sector.
Inadequate sleep can lead to forgetfulness, irritability and less efficient organisation and planning, skills all teachers and schools leaders need to face the challenges a school day presents. With stress and anxiety being contributing factors to insomnia, staying up at night worrying about the next school day and doing a better job can only exacerbate the issue at hand.
If you believe the stress of a senior leadership role is what is causing your sleep difficulties our blog on handling stress and pressure may help. However, if you have exhausted all of the ways that are known to help stress you may have to go back to the basics to get your sleep back in order.
Having a strict routine, going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, is integral to having a good night's sleep, you should also cut back on alcohol and caffeine as tempting as they may be after a lack of sleep or stressful day at work. Another bad habit all of us have in education is not switching off after work, disconnecting throughout the day, when it is time to do so is so important, taking a walk or reading can be a great way to disconnect and you should also avoid blue light from screens before bedtime. Instead of sitting on your laptop or phone going through emails or your to-do list before bed try journaling, by writing down your worries or anxieties you can empty your mind and sleep soundly.
We offer the option to apply for both permanent and interim roles. This allows you to find a job that suits your lifestyle. If permanent work isn’t for you and you find yourself struggling with insomnia, interim work may be more suitable, giving you the option to still work in an exciting leadership role within the education sector whilst also maintaining a good work-life balance.
We hope these tips will help you beat work insomnia. If you need any support do not hesitate to get in touch with us as we are here to help and support you however we can. There’s also a multitude of support services for school staff and leaders, for example, the Education Support website has a variety of resources addressing well-being and mental health.