If you are like me, or most high schoolers, you are most likely lacking in the sleep department. We all know that sleep is a necessity for the body and it severely affects our performance on the daily. So why are we getting less than the 8-9 hours of sleep recommended by doctors?
This can vary from person to person, but usually it falls under these categories: homework, studying, stress, after school jobs, technology, extracurricular activities, and anxiety. Once you fall into the sleep deprived cycle there is no getting out of it. Not getting enough sleep limits your ability to learn at school, performance on the field for sports, inhibits your memory, and overall just makes you feel terrible. So, how can the average overworking teenage catch up on their Zs? Start by making a list of the things in your life that stress you out or what you think may be the root cause to your sleep deprivation. For example:
- Staying up on your phone before bed
- Not time managing school work and extracurricular activities well
- Waiting till late at night to study for a test
- Clicking ‘next episode’ on Netflix
We are all guilty of committing at least one of these sleep deprivers on the list. However, it is not healthy to repeat these bad habits every day. Once a list is formed you can find ways to change, manage, or even tweak the things on your list depending on how important they are to your daily schedule. Although, keep in mind that it is important that your body needs to maintain a consistent sleeping pattern. This means that it is crucial to find a balance in your day-to-day life where you can go to bed at a certain time and wake up at a certain time. For example having an irregular sleeping pattern would be going to bed at 7 one night and then going to bed at 12 another night. Sometimes nights like that are unavoidable but are okay as long as they do not become consistent.
Having an irregular sleeping pattern across the week (staying up late and sleeping in late on the weekends) can affect you biological clock and hurt the quality of your sleep. Even if you are getting the desirable 8 hours of sleep or more but do not keep a regular sleeping pattern the quality of your sleep can be affected. This can be applied to taking naps as well. Have you ever taken a very long nap and maybe felt disoriented, confused, and the worst: more tired than you felt before you took the nap? That is because you are interrupting your REM cycle of sleeping. Taking a nap can have many benefits but only if it is done right. You don’t want to risk taking too long of a nap because you may not feel tired enough to sleep when bed time rolls around and once your in a deep sleep it is hard to recover from that and continue with the things you need to get done for the rest of the day.
Doctors suggest taking just a 20 minute nap session to improve alertness, enhance performance, and overall to make you feel better. Sleeping is how your body regenerates itself after a long day and revives you for the next. Although it may seem like an easy way to contribute to a healthy body and mind, keeping a routine sleeping schedule can be a daunting task, especially for a high schooler. With so many things going on it is easy to lose tract of a healthy sleep regimen, nevertheless it is important to keep your sleep and your health your top priority.