Did you know that a good night’s sleep is one of the best things you can do to prepare yourself for the next day of learning, studying, or taking an exam? Here are some tips from the Western International School of Shanghai, a Shanghai international school, to help you understand how much sleep you need and why it’s important.
What’s the right amount of sleep?
You may have heard that everyone needs eight hours of sleep to be at their best the next day. The truth is there is no magic number of hours that everyone needs since we are all different, and each person will need a slightly different amount of sleep. Additionally, the amount of sleep you need changes as you get older. For example, newborn babies need around 14-17 hours of sleep a day! See how much sleep you and your family need below,
- Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours each day
- Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
- Toddlers (1-2 years): 11-14 hours
- Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
- School-age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
- Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
- Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
- Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
- Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours
What are the benefits of good sleep?
Everyone knows what it’s like to feel tired or full of energy. But why is a great night’s sleep is so essential to your education?
Studies have shown that students who regularly get a good night’s sleep perform better academically than those who get insufficient sleep.
Did you know that information is sorted and organized by your brain while you sleep? Think of your brain as like a computer – there’s only a certain amount of memory. It gets new information each day and needs to sort out what is important (like the answers to a quiz) and what it can “delete” to make more space (like what you had for dinner three nights ago). The more sleep you get, the better your brain is at these tasks, and the better you’ll do on that upcoming quiz..
Lower risk of obesity
Did you know that when you are sleep deprived, your body makes more of a hormone called ghrelin? This hormone can be thought of as a “hunger hormone” – the more you have of it, the more high caloric foods you’ll crave and the more fat your body will store. On the other hand, when you sleep, your body produces “leptin” – an appetite suppression hormone.
Less chance of getting sick
When you sleep, your body releases proteins called cytokines. These are what fight off infections like colds before they make you sick.
What can I do to get a great night’s sleep?
You know getting good sleep is key to your education and your health, but getting adequate rest can be easier said than done. How can I get better sleep?
Don’t use your phone before bed
You see, all devices with color screens (phones, tablets, televisions, etc.) emit blue light. This kind of light tricks your brain into thinking it’s still daytime and that it shouldn’t be sleepy. Avoid screens at least an hour before sleep time. If you absolutely must use your phone before bed, at least turn on “night mode” if possible – this stops the screen from displaying blue light.
Don’t confuse your brain
Your brain associates certain places with different things. If you start mixing up your places and activities, your brain gets confused. One of the worst things you can do is study in bed – if you do, your brain associates bed with studying, not sleeping. This means when it’s time to close your eyes, your brain has a harder time “switching off” because it thinks it should still be awake. Set up a proper study area in your room or somewhere in your house and leave your bed for sleeping..
Create a calm, comfortable sleep environment
Light, noise, and even the wrong temperature at night can be detrimental to your sleep. Don’t use LED alarm clocks that are always visible. If you charge your phone next to your bed at night, turn it over so that it doesn’t light up the room if you get a notification in the night. And put it on silent too (not vibrate mode) to reduce noise – wear earplugs if needed to reduce noise you can’t control. Finally, keep your bedroom cool and snuggle under a comfy blanket.
Stick to a sleep schedule
This is most evident if you’ve ever traveled across time zones. Taking a flight to another country causes our body’s clock to get out of sync with the sun, and it takes time to get readjusted so we can sleep at night in our new location. Staying up late has the same effect. As much as possible, go to bed at the same time each night.
Taking time to relax your brain through meditation is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety and make it easier to sleep. Learn how to meditate with this video tutorial.