Time to Wake up to the Importance of Sleep

Spring Semester is here! Time to chug coffee, study non-stop, and take all-nighters, right?! No, not right. There is something that will help you get through this semester more than forcing yourself to study all night. Have you guessed it by the title? If you haven’t, it’s sleep! Sleep helps you in various ways, and after countless all-nighters it’s about time to make your sleep a priority.

Why Sleep is Important!  

  • Sleep improves your ability to learn by helping you pay attention, make decisions, and be creative.
  • Sleep improves your emotional well-being.
  • Sleep helps maintain a balance of hormones.

o   Cool fact: Ghrelin is the hormone that makes you feel hungry and Leptin is the hormone that makes you feel full. When you don’t get enough sleep, your Ghrelin goes up and Leptin goes down meaning you feel hungrier when not well-rested.
As you can see, sleep is very significant, but this does not mean you should turn off all alarms and sleep through your 8AM classes. A healthy amount of sleep for adults is between 7-9 hours a night. Let it also be known that it depends on the individual. It can be considered appropriate for some young adults to need as little as 6 hours or as much as 11 hours of sleep a night.

How to Get Better Sleep

·       Track Sleep Hours: The first thing you need to do is track how many hours of sleep you currently get, and how you currently feel with that amount of sleep. If you feel tired throughout the day that could be a sign that your body is not getting enough sleep. Listen to your body and track your hours to find what feels and works the best for you.
  • IPhone Hack: If you go to your “Clock” app, there is a “Bedtime” option. If you go there you can decide when to wake up each day, and it will allow you to choose the hours of sleep you want. It will send you reminders when it’s time for bed and when it’s time to wake up.

·       Keep it Consistent: The best way to maintain a healthy sleep schedule is to keep it consistent. Sleeping is a rhythm, so try to go with the motions and stick to the sleep schedule that feels best for you. (Using the IPhone hack above could also help here!)

·       Decrease Caffeine Intake: Coming from the Ex-queen of Diet Coke, keep track of your caffeine intake and try not to rely on it too late at night. Caffeinated beverages make falling asleep a more difficult process when it should be an easy task towards the end of the day. When in doubt, stick to water, bedtime tea, or warm milk.
o   When to Stop: According to the National Sleep foundation, caffeine lasts for 5-6 hours in the body before wearing off. So, if you need to be in bed by 10PM, be sure to cut off caffeine between 4PM-5PM that day.
·       Don’t Hit Snooze: It can make waking up even more difficult because it acts as a false alarm to the body, thus making the body get ready to sleep more. This can confuse the body on when it is supposed to wake up. With classes and exams coming up there is no time to oversleep.

·       Put Away the Phone: Before you go to sleep, don’t be scrolling down this amazing blog! I know it is really fun, but the light is tricking your brain. If you must be on your phone, switch the lighting to "Night Shift.” This removes the blue light that makes your phone screen viewable in the sun, so that Melatonin (the hormone that tells your body when it is time to sleep) production can continue.

So, let’s start this semester off right with enough sleep. Stay Healthy, Go Beach!

By Jessica Elderkin


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