Student Wellbeing

School Holiday Sleep & Mental Health Tips

School holidays are often a time for fun with family and friends, trips out of the city or to a new one, and an opportunity to “catch up on sleep”. While it is very common to want to relax our evening and morning routines during the holidays, sleep science research supports the need for consistent bedtimes and wake times across the week. Irregularities, including significantly later sleep and wake times on the weekends and school holidays, can lead to disruptions to our circadian rhythms (the body’s natural internal clock which plays an important role in our sleep-wake cycle and rhythms), with undesirable impacts on our day-to-day functioning and overall health.

In reality, we know that there will be a few late nights and sleep-ins here and there, but trying to keep consistent where possible can make a huge difference. So, what can we do to have the best of both worlds? At the very least, treat the week before Term 2 starts as though it were a regular school week. That is: Go to bed and wake up (don’t forget your alarm!) at the times you usually would during the school term. Most teenagers will need 8-10 hours of sleep per 24hours. Doing this can have significant benefits to mental and physical health, support learning and emotion regulation, and help make the transition into Term 2 a whole lot smoother.

For additional ideas and tips, please see this Supporting Your Young Person During the Holidays resource by Headspace.

Wishing everyone a lovely break,

Tamara Zafiropoulos
College Psychologist