A minimum of 8-9 hours on school nights is the amount of sleep recommended for teenagers. Sadly, this goal isn’t often accomplished. Some students tend to stay up late at night to work on last minute assignments, and then end up having to wake up very early. In fact, according to the National Sleep Foundation, “Biological sleep patterns shift toward later times for both sleeping and waking during adolescence — meaning it is natural to not be able to fall asleep before 11:00 pm.” It’s not exactly possible for students here at Westlake to fall asleep at eleven, and then wake up nine hours later, especially if they have early morning classes, so here are a few tips to help you sleep more efficiently:
- Reduce screen time and phone usage before you sleep
Scrolling through social media before going to bed can prove harmful to your eyes and cause you to have a more difficult time in falling, or remaining asleep. The NHS states, “The blue light emitted by screens on cell phones, computers, tablets, and televisions restrain the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep/wake cycle or circadian rhythm. Reducing melatonin makes it harder to fall and stay asleep.”
- Cut down your caffeine intake
Too much caffeine and sugar can stop you from the deep sleep you’re going to need to survive all the finals coming up. Try to lower your intake, particularly around the 4 hours before you go to bed. “One study also found that caffeine can delay the timing of your body clock. These effects will reduce your total sleep time. … One study found that consuming caffeine 6 hours before bedtime reduced total sleep time by 1 hour.” –sleepeducation.org
- Avoid binge eating before bed
Sleepadvisor.org says, “…eating before bedtime can be unhealthy and harmful for you. Although you can eat healthy snacks, you must avoid eating a large meal at least 2 to 3 hours before sleeping. … This way you will not gain weight from late evening snacking. And you will also feel much better in the morning too.”
Regular exercise has been proven to help people sleep much more soundly and improve their overall health. It can help you to balance out your sleep schedule and reset your internal sleep clock. Teenagers are supposed to get at least an hour of exercise everyday, including aerobic exercises such as running or dancing.
- Talk about your problems, and de-stress
It’s important to go to bed stress free, and a good rant to someone about all your issues really does help. Get someone who you feel comfortable talking to, and they just might save you a whole lot of unnecessary pain. Whether it’s a trusted parent, sibling, friend, or significant other, talking to someone can help you put your problems into perspective, and save you a sleepless night full of worry.