Without the daily structure of school, summertime signals late bedtimes for many teenagers.
Most high schoolers have commitments for at least part of the summer (if not for the majority of it), such as jobs, internships, and camps, and late bedtimes often result in an insufficient amount of sleep as they continue to wake up early to attend to their activities. It’s common for teenagers to go to bed past midnight, only to wake up exhausted early the next morning as they grudgingly get ready for the day ahead of them. This results in a screwed up sleep schedule.
After some time, receiving an insufficient amount of sleep each night can affect an individual’s mood and health. Some people may try to offset this lack of sleep by taking a nap later on in the day. Although this may seem like a good idea, it isn’t because napping can mess with an already-altered sleep schedule. This results in even later bedtimes and even less sleep. Additionally, going to bed late and waking up late the next morning gets them accustomed to a new sleep schedule. Then it’s difficult to readjust once it is time to go back to their regular school schedule.
Maintaining a balanced sleep schedule where you’re able to receive an adequate amount of sleep is essential to maintain good health and a positive attitude!
If you’re unsure of whether or not you’re getting enough ZZZs, check out this slideshow from WebMD.
Here are some recommendations on what you can do to maintain a healthy sleep schedule:
- Set a good bedtime. Set a bedtime that is early enough for you to be getting at least 7 hours of sleep. Your bedtime is when lights are turned off and you are in bed trying to sleep.
- Turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before you go to bed. For many teenagers, electronic devices are the number one thing keeping them up at night. Although binge-watching your favorite show on Netflix and Snapchatting your friends is fun (and sometimes kind of important!), sleep is valuable and should take priority. Remember, you can always be on your electronics during the day and should use nighttime to rest and get re-energized. Turn off electronics and put them in a different room if you think you’ll be tempted to use them. Use the time you have before you go to bed to read a book, listen to music, or do another activity that is calming and doesn’t involve the use of an electronic device that could potentially distract you and keep you up at night.
- Eat dinner at a decent time. For many individuals, a 6-6:30 pm dinner time is the most ideal. Sleep schedules get thrown off when dinner time is later in the evening, causing additional problems. I would recommend maintaining the same dinner time as during the school year. If you choose to stay up later, eat something healthy to satisfy your hunger and keep yourself energized.
- Create a bedtime ritual. For some people, creating a daily bedtime ritual allows them to stay organized and feel calm; better preparing them for receiving a good night’s sleep. Activities on your ritual could include anything from cleansing your face to reading a book before going to bed. Figure out what makes you feel happy and relaxed, and create a thirty-minute to an hour ritual for yourself incorporating those activities! Do you need ideas for before bed activities? Check out our Beginner’s Guide to a Self Care Routine.
- Be comfortable. When you feel comfortable in your room, you’re going to have a much easier time sticking to your sleep schedule! Make sure your bed is comfortable. If you care about the temperature, do your best to keep it at one that is optimal for your sleep! Some summer nights, it can get very hot and may be difficult for you to fall asleep. I would recommend getting a fan for your room if you don’t already have one.
- Exercise daily: For some people, this isn’t something to even worry about. Their summers are spent enjoying the nice weather outdoors and being active. However, for others who aren’t very active, making the effort to get some exercise in is important. Doctors recommend exercise or doing something active for at least 60 minutes each day. Going on a run, taking a walk around the neighborhood, or playing sports are some examples of ways one can stay active during the summertime. Exercising helps individuals get a good night’s sleep, making it is very important and something you shouldn’t neglect!