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The Sleep Programme

Developed by Melissa Clinton, Canford's Joint Head of Wellbeing

Canford’s Joint Head of Wellbeing, Melissa Clinton, is delighted to be involved in the inaugural Wellbeing Hub from Teen Tips Pastoral Leaders’ Event on Thursday 24th June, where she will discuss the new Canford Sleep Programme due to be launched at the school through Houses in September 2021 and generously donated to The Wellbeing Hub for member schools to also access.

Sleep is a vital area of health that is often overlooked by many. The Japanese government has said that sleep problems/insomnia is the most serious social refractory disease of the 21st Century. Research shows increased evidence for a non-pharmacological approach, with a focus on addressing the behavioural and cognitive approach through education.

Melissa and the Health Centre team are now aware that many issues discussed with staff and counsellors are often linked to sleep health. In carrying out some research as part of Canford’s holistic approach to wellbeing, it has become evident that better sleep health education is vital, hence The Canford Sleep Programme was developed. Good sleep health assists better diet, improved productivity, improved concentration, improved emotional control, all extremely relevant and helpful for the Canford adolescent pupils in our care.

Melissa said: We want to ensure we enrich our pupils’ wellbeing with the knowledge and understanding on the science and importance of sleep, so that they will feel empowered to make better choices around sleep health and hygiene. This in turn will support their mental, physical and emotional health, whilst helping them feel more productive and energised in all aspects of life. These are vital life skills that they can carry through with them in future years.”

Alicia Drummond, Founder of Teen Tips, was so impressed by The Sleep Programme she asked Melissa to share her insight at The Wellbeing Hub from Teen Tips Pastoral Leaders’ Conference in a bid to help more pupils and communities support this area of pupil wellbeing. Alicia said: “Canford are the only school known to us who are providing such valuable education on sleep and we are so grateful for their generosity in sharing the resources to benefit the wider Wellbeing Hub community of schools.”

The Sleep Programme aims to provide a holistic approach, empowering through education, from transition to the school to include a pre-medical sleep history questionnaire and base line testing along with suggestions to help families prepare for their child’s move to a new environment. Each house will have a dedicated member of teaching staff and Matron trained as a ‘Sleep Champion’ who will take the lead role in the in-house education programme. This ensures an avenue of support is provided to pupils in this area of wellbeing. The sessions are fun, interactive and made relevant to the pupils. Every year group will take part in the programme which also means they can revisit the information and therefore build a stronger understanding as they go through the school. Pupils will receive termly sleep index forms and there will be the opportunity to check and advise on changes in scores. The Sleep Programme will cover core areas such as:

·        Why sleep matters

·        Science of sleep

·        Why sleep issues occur

·        Practical strategies/ways to improve sleep

The hope is that this approach will encourage an open dialogue with pupils and in turn help them to make the right choices on sleep health and to understand why policies such as ‘no technology before bedtime’ is in place.

We would like to thank The Sleep Charity who have been an incredibly helpful source of information, providing tools such as the Teen Sleep Index to give us objective markers in sleep health, and training for our staff.

In this recent blog post, our Joint Head of Wellbeing, Melissa Clinton, suggests some of her ‘Top Tips for Better Sleep Health in Teenagers.’