Getting enough rest is an important part of being successful in any area, and this is even more true for students. We’ve already explored the reasons why sleep so important, so for more depth on the subject, you can check out our blog post on the value of a good night’s sleep for students of all ages. Today we’re going to look at seven useful tips that can help students get the most out of their sleep schedule.
Put Down the Phone
One simple thing that can make a big difference when it comes to how long it takes to fall asleep is to avoid using electronics before bed. While this may seem obvious to some adults, to many students is actually counter-intuitive. Many students today, especially in high school and college, say that they rely on their phones or tablets to listen to/watch things that relax them in order to fall asleep. This can seem like a great way to unwind before falling asleep, but the reality is that phone, tablet, and TV screens all emit blue light (even when in “night mode”), which affects melatonin levels. Of course, it can be curtailed by using amber glasses (available at Felix Gray and similar eyewear companies). Even still, most experts recommend not using electronics in bed at all or at least having a cutoff when it’s time to go to sleep.
Don’t Hit Snooze
Hitting the “snooze” button is extremely tempting for students. What many people don’t realize, however, is that as good as they feel, those extra 5 or 10 minutes of rest that we get tend to do more harm than good throughout the rest of the day.
Our bodies thrive on routine, especially through school years when we are still growing. As we discussed in our post about why a good sleep schedule matters, there are different phases of sleep that the body goes through. Having an alarm set for the same time every morning is a good way of training the body to cycle through these phases efficiently, but drifting back to sleep (or even just lying there) for a few minutes after waking up throws off the brain’s natural timing, which in turn makes students feel less rested as the day goes on.
Open the Curtains
This may not sound like something that has any real scientific basis, but research has found that there are cells in our eyes whose only job is to gauge brightness for the body’s circadian clock. The brain responds to this input independently of sight, which plays a part in whether or not the body feels tired. Similarly, exposure to light stimulates the brain and body, so getting started on the day becomes easier.
Reduce Caffeine Intake
We’ve discussed the pros and cons of coffee and other energy-enhancing beverages before; in short, excessive use of stimulants such as caffeine can throw off the body’s natural waking and sleeping patterns, making it harder to get a good night’s rest.
This tip may sound familiar to anyone who has read this blog before, but it is as true here as in any other place. Even a small amount of exercise can make a big difference in all sorts of ways, from simple things like stimulating student’s heart rate to improving overall mood and fitness, which in turn helps the body rest more efficiently.
Stay on Schedule
Lastly, as we’ve mentioned before, the key to success in any area is consistency. Students need established routines throughout their growing years, and sleep is perhaps one of the most important areas in which routine matters. From getting to sleep at a set bedtime to avoiding spontaneous naps, keeping to a schedule trains the body to sleep well and at the correct times. This allows students to feel better throughout the day and apply themselves fully to succeeding in school, social life, and all other areas.
To read more about how to get the most out of your sleep schedule, check out these webpages: