Pupil Contributions, Clifton College

Pupil Contributions, Clifton College

Mima Williams: 19/12/16

Half term seems to be the noticeable holiday that is half rated. I don’t think many understand the sheer magnitude of its benefits and for the majority, there are more advantages than meet the eye.

Holidays provide the perfect opportunity to catch up on sleep. Sleep deprivation through stress or a heavy workload can lead to poor mental performance, premature ageing and even illness. While we are asleep, our bodies undergo certain important processes, from repair and renewal to energy restoration. According to scientists, deep sleep - rather than length of sleep - is the time when the brain recharges itself so we can function effectively during the day. This is especially true mid-way through the term when are stress levels can be the highest; one week of can save our brains from being overrun with anxiety.

If you are lucky enough to go abroad during the half term, then the benefits expand further. In coordination with mind detox through sleep, research shows that being near sea water can help cleanse your mind. According to studies, listening to water alters wave patterns in the brain - in the same way that meditation does. This, believes life coach Carole Gaskell, means hearing the sound of lapping waves or cascading waterfalls on holiday can help rejuvenate the mind and body. Salt water from the ocean also has the added benefit of containing detoxifying properties.

Not that being at school is particularly unenjoyable but if you're enjoying yourself on holiday, you're more likely to laugh. And laughter really is the best medicine, according to recent research. A good belly laugh can strengthen the immune system by releasing endorphins, the body's natural 'feel-good' chemicals. This can help reduce the risk of disease - from heart conditions to allergic reactions and arthritis.