Can’t Sleep?

Emma Sims

Nearly every student at Cosby has known what it is like to not get enough sleep. Homework, sports, and social activities are just a few of the things that keep teens up well past the time their bodies should be clocking out. As a result, students experience poor performance in schoolwork and other activities and end up walking around the school more like zombies than actual people. According to nationwidechildrens.org, most teenagers receive around seven hours of sleep every night, while the amount children 13 to 18 years old should be getting is a little over nine. Even when teens manage to get in bed before midnight, many students at Cosby admit they are unable to fall asleep. So what is keeping everyone awake?                                                                                                                                                               

Anxiety:

Many studies have found that anxiety is one of the most common causes of insomnia, or trouble falling to sleep. Methods for fighting anxiety involve clearing the mind or taking long deep breaths. Many sources also recommend taking warm showers before bed or drinking caffeine-free herbal teas such as chamomile or peppermint to calm down. Having certain bedtime routines that one does every night can alert the body that it’s time to sleep.

Irregular Sleep Patterns:

Many students will get as few as 4-5 hours of sleep a night during the week days, and then try to catch up for this loss by sleeping for periods of nearly 12 hours at a time on weekends. While catching up on sleep can be helpful, numerous studies show that irregular sleep patterns contribute to not being able to fall to sleep. As hard as it might be, students should try to balance time sleeping so everyday they get around the same amount. Going to bed and waking up at the same time each day allows the body to differentiate between hours intended for sleeping and for being awake.

Screens:

Blue light, the light that phones and TV’s emit, has been found to suppress melatonin, which is the hormone that causes sleep. Many experts recommend that all screens be shut off 1 to 2 hours before bedtime to allow for better chances of falling to sleep.

Lack of Exercise:

Exercising at least 3 hours before bed causes fatigue that will allow a person to fall asleep much more quickly. Also, because body temperature drops during sleep, warming up during exercise allows the body to gradually cool down, so by the time evening comes, a person feels ready to hit the sack.  

Diet:

As much as everyone hates to hear it, a person’s diet truly does play a large role in sleep patterns. Caffeine found in chocolate, coffee, tea, or soda can result in trouble falling to sleep because caffeine works by, “blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain and increasing adrenaline production,” according to sleepfoundation.org. Depending on the amount of caffeine and metabolic rates of different people, caffeine can remain in the body for anywhere between 4 to 14 hours. Imagine the effects on sleep caffeine might have when a student decides to down 4 sodas in one afternoon.

Remember, getting enough sleep is vital to ensure top performance in and out of school, so try to make every effort to get to sleep in plenty of time. While homework is important, students should not allow it to take away one of the things the body needs most, sleep!

Header Photo Courtesy of Thomas Foguenne