During your time in the U.S., you’ve probably noticed that we celebrate certain things during different months. In April, ESN celebrated National Poetry Month by writing haikus and taking photos that represented the meaning and emotion of famous poems. May was National Meditation Month, Bike Month, BBQ Month, and Mental Health Awareness Month. To celebrate Mental Health Awareness, ESN-NYC students participated in a program at the New York Film Academy entitled “Lights Out!”
The program highlighted the importance of a good night’s sleep for students. Participants took a sleep quiz, received tips on getting a restful sleep from the sleep sheep, decorated eye masks, and colored in adult coloring pages with helpful resources about mental health.
Students learned about triggers they should be aware of that can disrupt sleep. Here are some situations that can cause bad sleep (and some ideas to get good sleep):
- Page-Turners! Reading a good book in bed can stimulate you emotionally and intellectually and stop you from relaxing. Read in a comfortable chair or on a couch until you are ready for bed.
- Bright Lights! Power down your computer, smart phone, or laptop, and your TV should be turned off an hour before bedtime. The lights from these objects stimulate the mind and can keep you from getting good sleep.
- Avoid all-nighters! Studying all night can have the opposite effect than intended: lack of sleep (sleep-deprivation) prevents you from performing well on a test the next day. Research has shown restful sleep is better for learning than staying up all night studying.
- No Routine! Try to go to bed and wake up around the same time every day. Creating a sleep schedule will help your body adjust and maintain a restful sleep pattern.
Rest and sleep are important parts of maintaining good mental health. Sleep helps to support your ability to learn and memorize — all-important skills for students.
Mina Kitano, a Level 5 student, said, “I was really surprised by my score on the sleep quiz. I am not getting enough sleep. I will work on better sleep habits.”
Xuejiao Yang explained, “The workshop was relaxing. We do not have these types of activities in school in China. It was helpful.”
Are you having a hard time sleeping? Think about a few small things you can do to improve your mental health. Here are some more easy, helpful tips!
mental (adj.) – relating to the mind
trigger (n.) – act or event that causes a reaction
stimulate (v.) – encourage interest
deprivation (n.) – the act of going without, removed