June 7, 2022
By Lily Malinowski
If you’re ever wondering why your day feels like it’s never going to end and your eyes are dropping in the middle of a lecture, the quality of your sleep may be the answer you are looking for. There are many factors as to why the quality of your sleep affects the quality of your life.
As students, many of us struggle to get enough sleep to make it through a long day at school. Sleeping the correct number of hours every night has been proven to help improve concentration and productivity. This can greatly impact how well students do with their schoolwork and exams.
During sleep, the brain creates pathways that are significant for the formation and retention of our memory; this strengthens problem-solving skills and enhances our scholarly performance.
Good sleep not only affects how students perform in school but also contributes to reaching their best potential when it comes to athletics.
Sleep is important for muscle and mind recovery. It provides the body with energy for the next practice or event. Sleep also aids in muscle memory. When an athlete learns a new skill, it is easier for their brain to form, consolidate and retain these memories.
One simple way to achieve better sleeping habits could be cutting down screen time in the evenings and finding an alternative activity, such as reading or journaling.
Exercise has also been proven to make the process of falling asleep easier and improve the quality of your sleep. However, it is important to do it at the right time of day. Exercise releases endorphins in the body that create a level of brain activity that may keep some people awake. Working out at least 1-2 hours before bedtime is the best way to implement it into your daily routine.
How much sleep is ideal? According to The American Academy of Sleep Medicine, about 8-10 hours is suggested for an average high school student, aged 13-18 years old. A national study conducted by the CDC has shown that about 72% of high schoolers do not reach that amount.
A great contributor to this is the use of technology right before it’s time to go to bed. One simple way to achieve better sleeping habits could be cutting down screen time in the evenings and finding an alternative activity, such as reading or journaling.
What one eats throughout the day also plays a role in the quality of one’s slumber. It is important to eat enough food and nutrients before going to bed because undereating can keep a person up at night; attempting to fall asleep while being hungry is a hard feat. Some foods that also promote good sleep are almonds, milk and turkey. These foods are excellent sources of the melatonin hormone, which signals your body to prepare for sleep
A consistent sleep schedule is also very helpful. Try to go to bed at around the same time every night, wake up at similar times in the morning and avoid taking excessively long naps throughout the day.
The bottom line is that sleep impacts health, mood and productivity. It may not seem as significant as it is, but it affects all aspects of daily life, and, therefore, it should be taken seriously.