As another school year approaches, teens and college students are found milking every opportunity to stay out late, sleep in, or even spending time foregoing sleep entirely. Research proves that sleep regulates mood and is closely tied to learning and memory functions, making it critical for teens and young adults to practice healthy sleeping habits. It also helps maximize productivity during the day and plays a critical role in overall energy level and health.
Founder of Allergy, Sleep & Lung Care and board certified sleep medicine physician, Imtiaz Ahmad M.D., provides students a series of healthy sleeping tips to promote successful sleeping throughout the school year for better classroom performance.
1. Say no to social media
Recent studies show the use of tablets and mobile phones before going to bed could be affecting sleep habits, with teens being the most at risk. According to Dr. Ahmad, “More and more research is finding the displays within these devices are causing melatonin suppression, ultimately causing a dysfunction in your body’s sleep chemicals.” Put down technologies with backlit displays at least two hours before bed.
2. Schedule your sleep
Studies show by going to bed at the same time each night, your body will start to organically wind down at that consecutive time, allowing you to easily fall asleep.
3. Cancel the caffeine
According to recent research, Americans are starting to turn to caffeine to supplement natural energy gained by sleep at a younger age each year. “Caffeine is a stimulant that interferes with the ability to fall asleep,” says Dr. Ahmad. “Caffeine can increase the heart rate, blood pressure, hyperactivity and anxiety, all causing the inability to fall asleep.” Restrict the use of caffeine to the FDA suggested amount, currently 400 milligrams for healthy adults. The American Academy of Pediatrics discourages the consumption of caffeine and other stimulants by children and adolescents
4. No excuse to not exercise
“Exercise is an important part of getting a healthy night of sleep,” stresses Dr. Ahmad. “It allows you to fall asleep faster, sleep deeper, and avoid tossing and turning.” Engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes three-to-four times a week.
5. Write down your worries
“Typically, teens and college students carry large amounts of stress, stemming from puberty and everyday adolescent pressures, to college exams and finding a proper life to school balance. One of the best ways to combat stress is to write your worries down on paper,” shares Dr. Ahmad.