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The Importance of Sleep

Updated: Mar 12, 2022

Having a good night's sleep can affect your mood and performance during the day. The optimal amount of sleep varies with age. Children in the age group of 6-12 are recommended to get 9–12 hours of sleep, while college/high school students should get 8- 10 hours. Sleep contributes to improving our ability to process new information, establish neural connections, and regulate our emotions. The Learning Center at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill shares some examples of how to get a good night’s rest:

  1. Maintain a regular sleep schedule. This allows your circadian rhythm to adjust to your sleep schedule effectively. Going to sleep at different times every night disrupts your sleep schedule. Your body doesn’t know at what time to release melatonin, the neuro-chemical that makes us sleepy, because you haven’t established a consistent bedtime.

  2. Reduce the amount of light that enters your bedroom at night. Light can trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, which can cause a reduction in melatonin. This will make it harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Use blackout curtains or a night mask to keep light from disrupting your sleep.

  3. Get rid of any potential distractions. If your phone or tablet is within reach, you’re more likely to use it. Instead of going to sleep, you could spend hours watching videos or scrolling through social media. Have a dedicated spot for your phone that is across the room.

  4. Be cautious when you consume caffeine. Caffeine has a half-life of around five hours. This means it takes 10-12 hours for your body to completely clear the caffeine from your bloodstream. You may want to avoid caffeine consumption 8-10 hours before bedtime.

  5. Give yourself extra time to fall asleep. It takes the average person around 20 minutes to fall asleep. For example: to get seven hours of sleep, you need to be asleep by 10:30. This means you need to be in bed by 10:10 pm. That way, you’re asleep by 10:30 pm, not simply in bed by that time.

It can take a while to find a good sleep routine that works for you. Be patient and flexible. If you’re having trouble sticking to your routine, try and find an accountability partner. Whatever you do, getting a proper night’s sleep is crucial to maintaining a healthy and effective school life.

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