Did you ever wonder why a full day of children makes you want to take a nap? Your beautiful brain is to blame. Your brain—like a muscle that’s been flexing all day—needs to relax.
In order to relax, it needs silence. Your brain just wants a little peace and quiet to make it all better.
Recent studies demonstrate that your brain needs silence not only to rejuvenate from all the noise activity, but it also needs quiet to grow new brain cells. Your brain actually grows in silence. Wow. You can be smarter through being quiet. Who knew?
Here are three science-backed ways that silence is good for your teacher brain, and how making time for it can make you feel less stressed, more focused, and more creative.
- Silence replenishes the brain. Every day the teacher brain is inundated with numerous sensory inputs causing brain overload. The ceaseless demands of our attention as teachers put a significant burden on the on the brain necessary for high-order thinking, decision-making and problem-solving. This “sensory overload” leads to lack of focus and mental fatigue.However, the brain can restore its finite cognitive resources when we’re in environments with lower levels of sensory input: just be quiet. Through sitting in a quiet classroom, we can help restore our brain, allowing us to make better decisions and boost our creativity.
- Silence relieves stress. In numerous studies of the effect of noise, researchers found that noise increases blood pressure and heart rate. Conversely, silence decreases blood pressure and heart rate. Even two minutes silence helps maintain your mood.
- Silence makes you smarter. In a 2013 study of mice, scientists compared cognitive function of mice exposed to ambient noise, white noise, and silence. The mice exposed to two hours of silence led to the growth of new brain cells. Cheers to scientists!
As teachers, we live with noise and an overload of demands on our attention. However, we too can cultivate silence through maintaining a quiet classroom and ensuring we have adequate time for silence before and after school.
Maintaining silence in the car on your commute or having a quiet lunch in your classroom can create huge gains. You may find you’re not only rejuvenated but also growing smarter. It only takes one little shift to make a big difference. It only takes a little “shhh. . .”