As the lazy days of Summer slowly fade into the busy days of Fall, it is more important than ever to think about what will make this school year your most successful. Of course, you should eat right, get plenty of exercise, and maybe most importantly, get enough sleep. But why is sleep so important?
How Much Sleep is Enough?
When children are small, it is easy for them to get enough sleep. They can fall asleep anywhere! But once children start school, it is important that they receive sufficient sleep as well as a sleep routine. Requirements, as defined by WebMd.com, are as follows:
- 3-6 years old: 10-12 hours per day
- 7-12 years old: 10-11 hours per day
- 12-18 years old: 8-9 hours per day
- 18-22 years old: 7-9 hours per day
Of course, these are all recommendations, but it gives you an idea about the optimal number of hours needed.
Why Do We Need Sleep?
In order for a student to function at their highest level, they need to get sufficient rest. Face it, between school, homework, sports, activities, and family time, it may be difficult to find enough time to get that rest. But improving the quantity and quality of sleep can help improve the ability to learn new information, form memories, and renew our body and mind. It helps to optimize emotional control, yields better decision-making, and assists in social interactions. Other reasons for everyone to get enough sleep:
- Sleep can boost your immunity. This is really important for students who are exposed daily to others during cold and flu season.
- Inadequate sleep has been linked to obesity. Without enough rest, your body over-produces some hormones that may boost your appetite. Add this to being tired and grabbing food that may be quick, but not so healthy, and you have a double whammy.
- Sleep can actually promote productivity. If you are frazzled and tired, you are less productive and have more trouble concentrating.
How to Get More and Better Sleep
You and your student want to be more successful, function at your highest level, and avoid moodiness and exhaustion. To do so, you need sleep. A few ways to get more and better sleep:
Make bedtime a routine. There will always be exceptions but strive for going to bed at the same time every night. And the things leading up to bedtime should be the same as well. The routine of brushing your teeth, reading the story, or taking a bath, tends to get your mind prepared for sleep.
Say goodnight to electronics. One trick is to place cell phones, tablets, video games, and television out of sight. Perhaps create a charging station in another room so your student isn't tempted by the phone or tablet. Any distraction can interrupt, postpone, or lessen the quality of your rest.
Make the bedroom for sleeping. Avoid clutter, toys on the floor, clothes that are not hung away, or food in the bedroom.
Avoid chemically processed bedding. Many of the bedding items that advertise being wrinkle-free are actually treated with formaldehyde. This exposure can cause side effects when it is breathed into your lungs or absorbed by your skin. Always opt for all-natural percale sheets.
Make the bed comfortable. To get the highest level of success, make sure you have the most comfortable bed to rest in. Choose percale sheets, of the best quality, that will feel soft and cool on your skin. Layer the bed with comforters or duvets so that the temperature can be easily regulated. And choose a down or down alternative pillow for the best comfort.
Choose to be successful by choosing to get your best sleep ever.