Tired teachers off to sleep camp this summer
Summer camp at Queen's University aiming to help teachers overcome chronic insomnia
Sleep-deprived teachers have one more reason to look forward to the coming summer break: a camp to help them overcome their chronic insomnia.
"We realized that a lot of teachers were having trouble sleeping during the school year and they just couldn't come in for help," said Judith Davidson, a psychologist and sleep researcher at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont.
Just the way the kids could go to summer camp, we felt it was important for teachers who can't sleep.- Judith Davidson, Queen's University Psychology Clinic
"Just the way the kids could go to summer camp, we felt it was important for teachers who can't sleep."
The camp at the university's Psychology Clinic will take place Thursday mornings over five sessions beginning July 5.
The clinic runs a year-round sleep program for everybody, but this camp is just for teachers. They'll be given the psychological tools they need to finally get a good night's sleep, Davidson said.
High rate of insomnia
Teachers suffer a high rate of insomnia because they work long hours, are constantly planning ahead, and work in what can be a high-stress environment. Many take those concerns to bed with them, Davidson said.
"We know that type of vigilance when we are conscientious about getting every detail right and always being on is not conducive to sleeping," she said. "The mental activity so close to bed keeps them awake longer."
The camp will focus on helping teachers learn how to slow their racing minds and relax before hitting the hay. They'll learn about sleep cycles, how insomnia develops and relaxation techniques to help overcome it.
Results within 2 weeks
"These are much more powerful techniques that work with building up the biological sleep drive by staying up late and getting up at the same time every day, but doing that every day in a very systematic way with support from the leaders of the group," Davidson said.
The program doesn't involve overnight monitoring, but the teachers will be given homework: they'll be expected to maintain a consistent bedtime at night and wake-up time in the morning, and must keep a sleep diary.
She said participants who maintain those routines can expect to see results within two weeks, and should be better rested when classes resume in the fall.
Teachers interested in the sleep camp can still join, Davidson said.
With files from All in a Day