Groggily rolling out of bed to the sound of your snoozed alarm, you stumble as you make your way to your computer. As you turn it on, your brain is pierced with blue light and you flinch. You rub your eyes, go to Google Classroom, and reluctantly join your zoom — still in your pajamas. This is the scenario for quite a lot of middle schoolers, and it is caused by lack of sleep! If you want to get more sleep and be up and at ‘em, try some of these tips out.
Don’t keep your eyes on blue light in the evening and late into the night. Looking at a phone screen can tamper with your circadian rhythm, which makes it think that (because it sees light) it is daytime. And, gluing your eyes to blue light can lower the level of hormones such as melatonin, which are known to boost relaxation. It is all a cycle — once you are able to stop looking at screens late in the night, possibly because of last minute homework, you are more awake during the day. This can help you get work done faster! But, if you must stay up late, be sure to turn the night light option for your computer screen on and wear blue light glasses if you have them.
A food that can intervene is — guess it — caffeine. Although drinking caffeinated beverages can be beneficial early in the day (to elevate energy and focus), it is not the same when you drink them before you go to bed. The hitch is that caffeine invigorates your nervous system. This holds you back from being able to clear your head and relax, which leads to not being able to fall asleep. So, if you get a Starbucks drink in the morning, that is okay. It just isn’t the best idea to have one after 12 p.m.
Be persistent in keeping your sleep schedule consistent. Having a normal sleep schedule greatly benefits your circadian rhythm. It works on a loop of sunrise and sunset, and when you go to bed at 12 p.m. and wake up at 5 a.m. in the morning, that confuses it. You should try to fit in 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night, too. As the proverb says, early to bed and early to rise makes one healthy, wealthy and wise. And, don’t take irregular naps during the day.
Neaten up your brain to minimize the strain. It is proven that, when you relax your mind in the evening, you are better rested. A simple way to loosen up is to have a self care routine before you go to bed. You can also do a calming activity, such as reading a book, creating art, exercising, meditating, and simply taking deep breaths. Writing lists can be a big help to see what you need to do, too.
Wake up to natural light, not the pixels of your screen glowing bright. To keep your body’s sleep rhythm functioning well, it is essential to — right after you get out of bed — go outside and soak up the sunlight. You can even eat your breakfast or read a book while you are out. It stimulates your senses, as if saying, wake up! This gets you on the right track for the day, and aids in getting better sleep later on. Note that this is getting natural light, not light produced by a device.
In conclusion, these are five tidbits of advice to get you on the right track of better sleep and have more energy during the day!