You teens have it tough these days. Seriously. All joking aside, you have to deal with a lot in a day. With early starts every day, overloading information on the regular, pressure to get a good ATAR, maintaining a healthy social life, family time, keeping up with world events, eat healthy and trying to have time to process the day, it’s no wonder that you’re losing sleep. Of course, you could cut back on extracurricular activities, spend less time in front of a screen or go to bed earlier, but let’s be honest; this isn’t going to happen. Here are some realistic ways you can get more sleep.
Create The Perfect Sleep Environment
A huge factor in good sleep is the environment you surround yourself in. If you sleep with the lights on, you’re stopping the release of melatonin, the hormone that regulates sleep. Make sure you have a comfortable sleeping surface, with a comfy mattress, Another issue is the mattress you’re sleeping on. As your body is still growing, you may outgrow your mattress, which can cause muscle tension, sore joints and make you wake up groggy and grumpy. If your mattress is more than five years old, get a memory foam mattress online, and watch how your sleep improves. You can also make the room inviting by hanging fairy lights, soft pillows and even adding some essential oils that promote sleep.
Education For Parents
Elisabeth Stitt shares her advice for advising parents on teen sleep. “A big issue here is that parents really aren’t aware of how much sleep their kids actually need, so education is the first step. Since the recommended ranges are pretty broad (according to sleep foundation.org between 7-12 hours “may be appropriate” for kids school aged to teen), I have parents rate their kids a) on how independently their kids get themselves up, b) what their kids’ moods are and c) have the children self report whether/when they feel sleepy at school or during the day. If kids are getting themselves up in a good mood and not feeling sleepy during the day, getting as few as 7 hours a night may well be appropriate for that child.” Find out more about Elisabeth Stitt by following her on Instagram.
Sure, between twelve and sixteen, you have to participate in physical education, but once you have hit seventeen, you don’t have to do it anymore. This is a problem, not in terms of maintaining a healthy weight, but also for maintaining a healthy sleep cycle. Even walking home from school every day, or heading to the gym for an hour after school can assist in sleep deprivation. When I was in year 12 (which was only a few years ago), I would head to the gym every couple of days, go on the treadmill and revise my ¾ psych textbook, for about an hour. It’s important for you to exercise, as it reduces levels of cortisol (the stress hormone) and reduces levels of anxiety, which, I know, is a growing epidemic.
Wake Up The Same Time Every Day
If you want to wake up on the right side of the bed on the daily, set an alarm. Not only does waking up at the same time every day create a valuable routine that will help them in adulthood, it also helps solidify your circadian rhythm (body clock), which improves your overall health and sleep quality. The same goes at night; aim to sleep at the same time every night, so you can establish a routine.
Don’t Study On Your Bed
If you study on your bed, you’re going to condition yourself to think that the place you’re sleeping is associated with school, which can increase levels of cortisol and make your sleep quality poor. The only thing you should have on your bed is a quality duvet cover from MyDeal and some pretty cushions. When it comes to study, make sure you do it at your desk. Conditioning yourself to associate certain places for specific tasks helps you relax when you’re sleeping, rather than thinking of all that homework you have to complete.
Excessive Screen Time (Hear Us Out, Here)
Jasmin Telford, from Baxter Blue, shares her advice for teens who use screens. “Multiple studies from all over the world have shown the negative impacts of increased screen-time on our sleep, as more and more medical professionals stress the urgency of taking our sleep seriously. When we look at screens, we are exposed to blue-light that confuses our body clock. These blue wavelengths mimic sunlight and suppress our melatonin, tricking our circadian rhythm into believing it’s daytime – even if it’s the dead of night. And as more teenagers are using technology after sundown, our sleep is paying the price. Baxter Blue, new family owned business launched this year, have developed a range of non-prescription eyeglasses that protect children’s eyes from the harmful blue-violet light that is emitted from the digital screens and allows the body to create melatonin to help them fall asleep.” Find out more about Baxter Blue by following them on Facebook and Instagram.