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High school is often associated with a period of immense stress in a person’s life. With a load of rigorous courses and extracurriculars, it can be hard for some students to manage their schedule, and as a result, several teens resort to less sleep and staying up late. After all, how can missing a few hours of sleep harm us, right?
The Essentiality of Rest
I’ve often found myself asking why sleeping is important. It always seems like I’m passing time laying in a bed rather than doing something productive; however, giving your body time to rest is so much more than that. Sleeping allows your body system to recharge both mentally and physically. It contributes to your alertness and energy throughout the day. A study conducted at Harvard Medical School finds that when students are sleep-deprived, they struggle to focus during classes and aren’t able to learn efficiently. Retaining information is much harder and memory efficiency experiences a degradation as well.
Not only is sleeping important to your mental health, but it is also significant in our physical well-being. I’m sure we’ve all experienced a day where we almost fell asleep during history class, or we couldn’t even run a lap around the gym during P.E. When your body lacks the energy received from sleeping, it can affect your growth and development. Sleeping triggers the body to release hormones that may help us grow taller and stronger. At the same time, replenishing our bodies may help nourish our immune systems and make us feel more awake in general.
What is Our Current State?
Right now, the ideal number of hours teenagers between the ages of 13-18 years should sleep is around 8-10 hours per day. Although this may seem realistic to some of us, I always overhear my classmates talking about how they were studying for tests up until midnight. So how close are we to this goal of ten hours?
According to an article posted by the Better Health Channel, most teenagers only get “about 6.5-7.5 hours [of] sleep per night.” This means that we’re missing nearly a third of how much sleep we should be getting per day. Stimulants such as coffee and energy drinks are typically a solution to all of us, but in reality, it’s creating more harm rather than progress.
How Do We Solve This Issue?
Listed below is a bullet-pointed list of how we can allow more time for our bodies to sleep and relax.
- Avoid drinks such as tea, coffee, and energy drinks.
- Buy an agenda/planner to have a defined schedule of what you will be doing during the day.
- Spend time doing productive activities and avoid using electronics for social media or video games.
- Have your own sleep schedule and stick with it.
- Avoid eating in bed and try to stay consistent every night.
- Limit your number of naps during the daytime.
- Keep your bedroom clean and comfortable.
Try making it fun or part of a routine, and look at these bedtime habits for a productive sleep.