Sleep: something that all of us just can’t seem to get enough of.
With the constant workload that comes with being a student, getting enough sleep and keeping a healthy schedule has become a difficult task. There are many different tips and tricks to help anyone, especially students, enjoy and have a better sleep.
“I definitely don’t have a set sleep schedule,” sophomore Marlon Tabora said. “There are nights where I’m able to get a full eight to nine hours of sleep, but there are more nights where I only get around four to five hours.”
Skimping on sleep can be harmful for students, both mentally and physically, as students are still growing, during their high school years, and sleep is a way for the body to relax and reenergize for the next day.
According to a Nationwide Children’s article, only around 15 percent of students reported sleeping 8.5 hours on school nights—which is the minimum number of hours that students are supposed to get.
Try to avoid naps
Avoiding naps during the day allows for a better rest at night. If a nap is needed, however, keep it to a 20 minutes or less power nap as naps can cause grogginess and disorientation after waking up.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, a short nap of 20 to 30 minutes can help to improve mood, alertness and performance.
Set an alarm to go to bed
If staying on track with a calming bedtime routine is virtually impossible, consider setting an alarm to remind you to go to bed at a decent hour.
According to an Apr. 16 Huffington Post article, alarm clocks are helpful for keeping sleep schedules regular. Waking up around the same time each day is beneficial for our internal biological clocks and using an alarm clock can help keep your schedule consistent and normalize sleep patterns.
As strange as it may sound, having warm hands and feet seems to predict how quickly someone will fall asleep. Help speed up the process by pulling on a pair of clean socks before climbing into bed.
According to a National Sleep Foundation article, heating cold feet causes dilation of the blood vessels which tells the brain that it is bedtime. After the blood vessels open in the hands and feet, heat is redistributed throughout the body to prepare for sleep.
Keep temperatures low
A room that is too hot or too cold can mess with your sleep. Aim for somewhere between 60 and 67 degrees fahrenheit.
According to a National Sleep Foundation article, body temperature decreases to initiate sleep and the proposed temperatures can help facilitate this. If the room is cool, rather than warm, it will be much easier to shut your eyes for the night. Thermostat settings far lower or higher than what is recommended could lead to restlessness and may also affect the quality of REM (rapid eye movement) sleep—the stage of sleep with the highest brain activity.
At least one hour before bed, dim the lights and turn off all your devices including smartphones, laptops and TVs—all of which belong outside the bedroom. Bright light is one of the biggest triggers to the brain that it is time to be awake and alert, so it is best to start sending the opposite signal early.
According to an Aug. 10 Huffington Post article, screen time at night keeps those from falling asleep and sleeping well due to cognitive stimulation and sleep deprivation. When the brain’s electrical activity increases, neurons race and prevent the calming down into a peaceful state of mind that comes with sleep.
Avoid heavy meals
Avoid eating large meals, especially protein heavy meals, that’ll keep you overly-full, within a couple of hours of bedtime because the discomfort might keep you awake when you should be asleep.
According to a July 18 LiveStrong article, once food is ingested, the metabolism fires up which makes it difficult to fall asleep and sleep soundly. Lying down with a large amount of food in the stomach can be uncomfortable, causing a lack of sleep which increases daytime fatigue, interferes with memory and concentration and increases hunger and appetite. It is recommended to not eat within two to three hours of bedtime.
Resolving worries or concerns before bedtime may greatly increase sleep time. Write down what may be on your mind and set it aside for tomorrow. Stress management such as getting organized, setting priorities, meditation and delegating tasks can help with sleeping as well as ease anxiety.
“Being stressed before bed always causes me to have more trouble sleeping,” Tabora said. “That’s why before I sleep, I like to make sure I feel prepared for school the next day by finishing my work and studying for any test or quiz I have the next day.”
Not getting enough sleep or having sleep difficulties leads to many consequences such as limiting the ability to learn, listen, concentrate and solve problems. It can also cause one to forget important information such as names, numbers or homework. Sleep plays an extremely important role in good health and well-being throughout everyone’s life. Getting enough sleep at the right times can help protect your mental and physical health as well as the overall quality of life and health.