It’s well known that a good night’s sleep is one of the most significant factors in making sure that we are at our best the next day. There are multiple research studies which show that sleep helps with concentration, memory, insight, creativity, and even our immune systems.
It’s also well known that most of us aren’t getting enough sleep, so we are not benefiting from the improved performance we could be seeing in school. So what can we do to make this better?
- TV before bed: the temptation to watch “just one more episode” of that Netflix box-set can be hard to resist – that’s how Netflix is designed! “Just one more episode” will lose you an hour of sleep. The episode will still be there tomorrow – but the sleep will be lost for good. Shut the laptop and shut your eyes!
- Bed times: if you go to bed at different times each night, your body’s internal clock gets confused and it can disrupt your sleep patterns. Having a regular routine really helps to get a consistent night’s sleep.
- Go to bed before you fall asleep: if you find yourself dropping off on the sofa, you’ve stayed up too late. Get to bed earlier, with a good book, and read a chapter before you turn the light off.
- Naps: research shows that short naps can be useful, but anything over half an hour can prevent you from sleeping well at night because you won’t be tired until later. If you need it, slot in a ten to fifteen minute “power nap” – but set an alarm!
- If you’re wide awake, get up: if you find yourself tossing and turning, unable to sleep, get out of bed and do something that occupies your brain without stressing you out: a jigsaw, tidy your room, organise yourself, read another chapter of your book. Then go back to bed, so that you associate it with sleeping, not being awake.
- Put your phone away: the bright light from your phone or tablet tricks your brain into thinking it’s day time. This stops melatonin (the sleep hormone) from being fully released, making it harder to drop off. Put your phone away at least an hour before you want to go to sleep.
- Cut the caffeine: energy drinks, cola, tea, and coffee all have delayed effects on your energy levels. If you drink them before bed, the caffeine will be trying to keep you alert as you are trying to fall asleep.
- Don’t kill time online: don’t waste time scrolling social media, letting YouTube autoplay the next epic fails video, or spectating Fortnite kills. This is time you could be spending asleep. If it’s not productive – don’t do it!
- Try not to overthink tomorrow: try not to make lists of everything you need to do whilst you’re lying in bed – this can lead to a stress response. Make those lists and get everything organised before you go to bed – then get that book out, read another chapter, switch off the light and drift off to sleep.
Thanks to Inner Drive for their help with this week’s blog.