5 tips for a better night’s sleep

With the stress of homework, extracurriculars, and other responsibilities, sleep is the last thing on one’s mind, but it shouldn’t be.

Sleep is a very important aspect of everyone’s lives. Studies show that only 15 percent of teens get the recommended 8.5 hours of sleep during the school week. “American Teens Lack Sleep” by Daniel Finger states that more than 25 percent of teenagers sleep less than seven hours.

Lack of sleep can lead to trouble concentrating and poor grades. Teens who get less sleep are also more likely to have negative moods and behavior problems.

There are several ways to improve your sleep quality. One way is to go to sleep and wake up at the same time everyday, although for some busy students this may not be possible. But fear not because there are other ways to get better sleep.

Tip #1: reduce blue light exposure in the evening. According to  “17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night” by Rudy Mawer, blue light is beneficial during the daytime, but it has the opposite effect at night. Due to the impact on your circadian rhythm the blue light tricks your brain into thinking that it’s daytime. Blue light reduces release of hormones like melatonin which helps you fall asleep.

Electronics emit blue light in large amounts. In order to improve your sleep your brain needs time to wind down. A good way to do that is to cease use of television and cell phones, and shut off bright lights 2 hours before bed.

Tip #2: don’t consume caffeine late in the day. When consumed caffeine stimulates the nervous system and may stop the body from relaxing naturally at night Mawer states. Caffeine may worsen sleep quality as well.

Caffeine can stay elevated in your blood for 6-8 hours. Drinking it after 3-4pm is not recommended, but decaf coffee is still acceptable.

Tip#3: exercise regularly. Exercising regularly is a science backed way to improve sleep, in fact it can enhance all aspects of it. It can even reduce symptoms of insomnia. Although it’s good to exercise, doing it late in the day may cause sleep problems. “17 Proven Tips…” also states that due to its stimulatory effect it increases alertness and hormones like epinephrine and adrenaline, so you may only want to do it during the day.

Tip #4: don’t eat late in the evening. Mawer also acknowledges that eating late can negatively impact sleep quality, and the natural release of HGH and melatonin.

Tip #5: optimize your bedroom environment, it’s a key factor for a good night’s sleep.

Factors include:

  • Comfortable temperature
  • Noise
  • External light
  • Furniture arrangement

External noise can cause poor sleep which may lead to long term health issues. A study showed that around 50 percent of participants noticed improved sleep quality when light and noise where diminished said Mawer. To optimize your bedroom environment, try to minimize external noise, light, and artificial light like from clocks. Additionally, make the bedroom a relaxing, quiet, clean, and enjoyable place.