Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Headmaster’s lesson in good night’s sleep

NEVER let it be said that Gregg Davies, headmaster of Shiplake College, does not practice what he preaches.

At a recent meeting with year 10 parents it was suggested that pupils should not be allowed to use their tablets or mobile devices an hour before bedtime.

Although not enforceable at the college, parents could take up the idea if they wished to.

Mr Davies had been reading up on research in this area and in particular a study last year that showed that 14- to 30-year-olds who use their mobile phones just before going to sleep lose sleep in terms of quality and duration.

The authors concluded, predictably, that this adversely affected their health.

A much larger study, involving 987 students, found that 79.5 per cent with poor sleep quality delayed their bedtime in favour of continuing to use their phone.

The headmaster then attended a presentation by Natasha Devon, a former government spokeswoman on mental wellbeing, and resolved he would take part in a trial of his own for a week.

So in the Davies’ household he, his wife Alison and daughter Anna (when she was home) all turned their phones off after dinner each night.

Mr Davies said: “The one thing I have been reluctant to give up is my Kindle. However, I would argue that this is not as distracting and disruptive as using social media before going to sleep, which is the main reason for challenging pupils to stop phone usage before bedtime. 

“I am pleased to report that good night’s sleep has been had by all and that we have found the experiment to be of benefit to our sleep quality and sense of refreshment the following morning.”

I wonder just how many of his pupils (or parents) will be following this example?

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