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Helping our learners to sleep better

How North Zealand International School (NIS) is supporting learners and their parents.

Photographs: North Zealand International School

Text: Shani Bishop & Michelle Aniere-Bentsen

Michelle Aniere-Bentsen, the social and emotional counsellor at NIS, offers online sessions with learners and parents at the school, while face to face meetings are not possible. Learners at the school or their parents can contact Michelle for help and advice at any time. Conversations focus mainly on 5 categories: responsible decision making, self-awareness, self-management, relationship awareness and social awareness. Areas that are going well as well as areas of focus are highlighted, and an action plan is then made collaboratively. During these sessions, sleep is a significant issue for many young people during this time.

Benefits of good sleep for learners

We all know that sleep is essential for good health. Getting regular good quality sleep will naturally improve functioning for children in all areas; mentally, physically and emotionally. We all know that our emotions tend to run away with themselves when we are tired. It also keeps the bugs away as it improves the immune system, boosts metabolism, keeps hormones balanced, and improves brain function. This all helps with responsible decision making.

Michelle has put together her tips for a good night’s sleep for young people. Some are recommendations from trusted sources, and others are simply things she has found to work for herself and learners at the school!

#1 Set a schedule

Going to bed most nights at the same time creates a pattern and a routine. Your body works best with regular patterns of sleep. Weekends are difficult as we tend to want to snooze more but try to stick to the pattern as much as possible (especially if you are trying to repair your sleeping patterns).

#2 The bedroom

If possible, save the bedroom for bedtime so as not to confuse your system. If you have no option due to limited space, then it is a good idea to change the lightning, so it is bright and airy during the day and has dimmed lighting in the evening because your internal clock is regulated by light. During the dark Danish winters, use lamps in the morning to brighten the room. During the last year of COVID, it has become a habit for some to work from bed! It is definitely best to create a separate space for work.

#3 Exercise

Daily exercise has across the board benefits to general wellbeing. It helps you get a really good night’s sleep. Make a manageable exercise routine (Try Mapmyrun, Couchto5km or 7minworkout) and remember to save time to wind down before bedtime.

#4 Food and liquid intake

Caffeine in sodas and coffee keeps you awake, so limit them or drink them early in the day.

#5 Screens

Turn off screens one hour before bed. The blue light disturbs your natural sleep rhythm.

#6 Create a calm bedroom environment

Use apps to drift off. Try sleep stories with children on the Calm app (free).

#7 Mind running away with you?

Writing down your thoughts before bed can help.

How much sleep should children get?

You can check to see if your children (and you!) are getting enough sleep from the table below. This table from the National Sleep Foundation ( recommends appropriate sleep durations for different age ranges.

Enrolling now for August 2021

We are opening a new year 7 (11-12 years) and year 4 (8-9 years) class due to increased demand. We also have some spaces in other classes for August 2021. See the website for more details and apply through

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