By ALEX PLASENCIA
Let’s face it. At this day and age, it’s almost impossible to get a solid eight hours of sleep every night and if you do, you’re lucky. In fact, according to the sleepfoundation.org, “only 15 percent (of students) reported sleeping 8½ hours on school nights,” which is a very small and concerning amount, considering the fact that the average teenager requires a full eight to nine hours of sleep in order to “properly function” throughout the day.
So why aren’t students getting enough sleep? Some science suggests that it’s actually biological. Due to the huge biological shift that occurs during teenage years, there are significant hormonal changes. One specific hormone called melatonin, which triggers sleepiness, is released later in the teenage body than that of an adult or a small child—which is why teens tend to get tired later in the day—hence the reason teens also seem to be more awake in the evening and at night rather than in the morning. This is also the explanation as to why mornings tend to be so hard for teens, as melatonin levels are still pretty high from being triggered so late the night before. Essentially, the body of a teenager is basically wired to stay up late and fight sleep as much as possible, but that doesn’t mean getting a good night’s rest is impossible.
So what can you do to get more sleep? Here are some tips to help you get a good night’s rest and get you feeling rejuvenated and revitalized.
- Start by Destressing
- It’s important to not let stress take control of our lives. Stress can cause sleep deprivation and it’s crucial you find yourself in a healthy mindset in order to gain a
good night’s rest. While everyone’s outlet of destressing is different, one great method, if you haven’t quite figured one out yet, is breathing exercises. Take one to three minutes of your day to practice some breathing exercises. You can even try practicing two to three times a day: when you wake up, mid-day and before you go to bed. There are even applications available to help you practice different breathing exercises and remind you when it’s time to take a breather—literally.
- Set A Sleeping Schedule
- It seems impossible but it’s not as hard as you would think. Take baby steps by setting an alarm at the same time every day, including the weekends. Avoid sleeping in every single weekend in order to keep your sleeping schedule consistent.
- Make Your Bedroom More Inviting
- Surroundings are a huge factor when it comes to getting a good night’s rest. Turn your bedroom or any room in general into a retreat by making it your comfort zone. Be particular about lighting: keep it subtle and avoid bright lighting. Embrace simplicity and keep things out of sight and out of mind. A great way to do this is by investing in storage, such as containers, that are easy to access but also easy to store away like under your bed or in your closet. Decor is also important. Hang things such as art you find visually pleasing and take down stuff you no longer do or find distracting.
- Cut the Caffeine
- We all know caffeine is bad, so try avoiding it all together. Drinking caffeine throughout the day, from coffee to soda, can disrupt you body’s rhythms and can make falling asleep later on in the day difficult. Ensure a good night’s rest and play it safe by sticking to water.
- Don’t procrastinate
- Another reason as to why students tend not to get enough sleep is procrastination. As impossible as it may seem, don’t wait till last minute to do homework or other assignments. Finish important tasks first and break everything else into small chunks, and most importantly, keep a schedule and keep it updated. Putting reminders on your phone to remind of you of important due dates and assignments or purchasing a small agenda to keep track of things are great ways to keep things in place and organized, saving you stress and time.