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6 Ways for Students to Get a Good Night's Sleep

6 Ways for Students to Get a Good Night's Sleep

Sleep Infographic

Image caption: Sleep Infographic

While you most likely already bought your backpacks and scheduled your classes, you may have forgotten about one of the most important pieces to a successful school year – a good night’s sleep. Keep reading to learn about the importance of sleep and how to establish a successful sleep routine that will sustain your success this upcoming year. 

Why is Sleep Important? 

Sleep is an essential function of health and well-being. It helps your mind and body recharge, allows your brain to function, keeps emotions in check, reduces diseases, and keeps weight under control. Being sleep deprived can have devastating effects on your physical and mental well-being, so it’s important to make getting a good night’s sleep a priority, especially where school and your future are concerned.  

How much sleep do I need? 

The amount of sleep needed varies from person to person and depends on age, physical activity level and personal preference. The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following guidelines: 

- Preschoolers (ages 3-5): 10-13 hours 

- School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours 

- Teenagers (14-17): 7-9 hours

Tips on Promoting Sleep for the Upcoming School Year 

Make small changes 

Students tend to follow a more relaxed sleep schedule over summer vacation. To prepare for the upcoming school year, adjust your sleep schedule by gradually waking up and going to sleep earlier. Two weeks before the first day of school, go to sleep and set your alarm for 15 minutes earlier than your current wake up time. Continue to move up your bedtime by 15 minutes each day until you’ve reached your desired sleep schedule for the upcoming year. 

Incorporate relaxing activities 

Getting your mind and body ready for bed is an important part of your sleep schedule. The hour before you fall asleep should be spent winding down by doing relaxing activities like taking a hot bath or shower, reading, journaling, doing light stretches or yoga, taking a short walk, or practicing deep breathing techniques.  

Exercise regularly 

Exercise has an immense impact on your sleep schedule. Not only does it help you fall and stay asleep, but exercise also alleviates your stress, improves your sleep quality and decreases daytime sleepiness. Although exercise is beneficial, avoid working out at least one hour before bed to give yourself adequate time to relax.  

Avoid caffeine 

Caffeine is typically consumed in drinks like coffee, soda, tea, and energy drinks and impacts your body by blocking sleep-promoting chemicals. Although caffeine helps to wake you up in the morning, it can also keep you up at night if consumed too late in the day. To avoid any negative impacts on sleep, professionals recommend cutting off caffeine at least six hours before bed.   

Be cautious of napping 

Napping can cause nighttime sleep problems and should be avoided when possible. If you’re exhausted and need to  nap, it’s best to keep it to 10-20 minutes and only nap before 3 p.m.  

Put devices away an hour before bedtime 

Many studies show that nighttime exposure to technology can impact sleep quality. Cell phones, televisions, laptops, and handheld video game devices emit blue light, a type of light that suppresses melatonin and makes it difficult to fall asleep. Try to put your devices away an hour before bedtime to promote tiredness and sleep.  

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