Fixing Sleep Patterns
March 16, 2017
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American teens are not getting enough sleep during the school year. This lack of sleep causes minimal focus and attention during the school day, making students less engaged. Over the past few weeks, I have tried several things to help me feel more rested, and while some things have worked, some things haven’t.
According to Mary Karskadon, a phd in Psychiatry and Human Behavior, teens need at least nine hours of sleep, but most teens are getting seven hours or less. This is because of extra-curricular activities before and after school, along with other things to boost physical, social, mental, and emotional health.
”I usually get seven to eight hours of sleep, but I feel like I need more. Some days I get a lot of homework and can end up only getting three to four hours of sleep,” Jacob Parsons, 8th grade Falcon told Summit.
Being someone who also felt like they didn’t get enough sleep, I decided to try different methods to help me rest better to make life easier in the mornings. The first and most important thing I have found to help is go to bed at the same time every night, and you’ll also need to eliminate all naps between waking up and going to sleep. This will get your body on a steady sleep schedule.
“I try to get at least seven and a half hours of sleep a night. I go to bed at 7:45 so I can wake up at 4:00 to go to the gym,” says student Rhys Fernando, 8th grade Falcon.
Other things that I’ve found to work is having some sort of white noise to block out other sounds. I’ve used a humidifier with a fan, and also a noise maker on my phone. I figured out that having less things connected to a phone helps settle the brain down. Phone screens produce blue light which can decrease the amount of melatonin which is the hormone that controls sleep patterns. In result, turning off your phone and other electronics about 30 minutes before going to bed can help someone fall asleep and stay asleep more easily.
Since using phones has proven to disrupt sleep patterns, I decided to get an actual alarm clock instead of having my alarm on my phone. This has helped me wake up in the morning because of the reduction in phone time.
A major thing I’ve been doing is taking vitamin D vitamins every morning. Since Dr. Stasha Gominak has stated that people have trouble falling asleep because of deficient levels in vitamin D. I had my blood tested and sure enough, I was low in vitamin D. Since taking vitamins, I have been able to fall asleep between 8:30 and 9:00 as opposed to anywhere from 10:00 or later.
Since developing healthy sleep habits, it has been easier to fall asleep and wake up in the morning. The most important thing is getting your body on a steady sleep schedule. This helps improve sleep and develops better planning skills because students will need to have everything they need done for the night by the time they go to bed, making a happier and healthier life.