We all have those restless nights where we find ourselves tossing and turning. Hours go by as we stare at the roof, wondering what we did to make us so restless. There are many reasons why we can’t sleep at night: you were stressed, you didn’t get any exercise, or maybe you drank too much coffee earlier in the day.
Before I begin discussing sleeping tips, let’s talk about insomnia. Insomnia is defined as the “persistent difficulty with sleep initiation, duration, consolidation or quality” (sleepfoundation.org). There are many causes for insomnia, but depression, stress, and anxiety are common ones. If you feel that you might have insomnia, it is essential to see a medical professional and seek treatment. You can visit this site for more information:
Sleeping at a consistent time each night is critical to preventing sleeplessness. Whether it’s to finish homework, binge watch a show, or spend time on social media, high schoolers love to stay up late at night. There are many misconceptions about fixing sleep schedules. If you avoid naps, sleep at a consistent time, and wake up at a consistent time, it can help you stay asleep the entire night. The video below helps describe how sleep schedules work and how to fix them.
Additionally, exercise helps release endorphins and increases body temperature, which leads to the feeling of sleepiness (sleep.org). Exercising a few hours before going to sleep can make you feel tired and help the body prepare for rest. A simple walk around your block can make a tremendous difference in your sleep that night. “Going for a brisk daily walk won’t just trim you down, it will also keep you up less often at night. Exercise boosts the effect of natural sleep hormones such as melatonin, Dr. Carlson says,” (health.harvard.edu). Being in the sun is also good for your sleep. Unexpected, right? Not only does it increase your body temperature, making you sleepy, but it also helps reset your circadian rhythm.
Caffeine and alcohol play a role in sleep, as well. Although caffeine can seem relatively harmless, it is considered a stimulant drug. Like most other drugs, caffeine disrupts your natural circadian rhythm, and they are best to avoid. Cutting out your early morning Cuban coffee or getting rid of your midday Starbucks run can be challenging, but it’s something to consider if you are having trouble sleeping. Alcohol is also problematic for sleep cycles. Although alcohol can make you feel sleepy, it affects your ability to stay asleep and the amount of time you stay asleep. The TEDTalk below talks about how caffeine and alcohol affect the body more in-depth.
The final adjustment that can be made for a full night of rest is to give yourself time to wind down. Reading a book or journaling is one of my favorite ways to relax my mind and destress. Taking a few minutes to relax without your phone before you go to sleep can make all the difference. According to SCLHealth.org, “The blue light emitted by your cell phone screen restrains the production of melatonin, the hormone that controls your sleep-wake cycle (aka circadian rhythm). This makes it even more difficult to fall asleep and wake up the next day.” Without realizing it, we allow our phones to steal our precious sleep!
Sleep is a complicated subject for many scientists, but almost all agree that it is crucial to our daily lives. A good night’s rest can be the difference between an A or F on a test the next day. Sleep helps us recover from our daily stressors and prepares us for a new day on this beautiful Earth. Make sure that you are taking the time to get your beauty sleep!