Sleep. Don’t You Miss It?

Sleep. Dont You Miss It?

Emma Craft, Website Editor

I know for a lot of you, myself included, your sleep schedule is beyond messed up. You’re most likely staying up hours past what you normally would, and waking up late in the afternoon. Although it may not seem like a big deal now, this is seriously not a good habit to get into. Being someone who has been to many doctors for sleep, and had to be put on prescription medicine for it, I would like to say that I’m pretty educated on what it takes to get a visit from Mr. Sandman. Everyone is different, and some of these remedies may sound really dumb to you, but think of sleep as a trial and error thing to fix: one thing isn’t the cure for everyone. So try a few of these out that you think are feasible for you!


But first! Just to put everything into perspective for you, here are some negative, long-term effects you could be causing yourself by not sleeping well. Obviously, you won’t be as alert, and this becomes a serious problem while driving. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s National Motor Vehicle Crash Causation Survey, you could be up to 12 times more likely to get into a vehicular accident without proper sleep. Lack of sleep also impairs your ability to think, process, and remember information, affecting your memory. It also can create a lot of stress and strain in your everyday life, mainly affecting your mood. Trust me, some of you already have enough attitude in your daily life, so please… sleep for the benefit of us all. Finally, on a more serious note, not sleeping can cause high-blood pressure, diabetes, heart failure, and many other life threatening problems. 


Now, here are some remedies to try… 


First off, to tell a bunch of teenagers to put their phones down before bed time is just stupid and pointless because… you’re not going to. So, if you’re going to be on your phone super late at night, do yourself a favor and turn night-mode on and your brightness down. Bright, blue light at two in the morning is never the move. Also, it sounds dumb, but I’m dead serious about this one. With everyone staying up super late, you may have some FOMO, causing you to stay up later than you want. I get it, nobody likes waking up in the morning only to find out some serious tea went down an hour after you fell asleep. But, that can wait. Trust me, your mental and physical well-being are far more important. 


If you already know going to bed at a reasonable hour is out of the picture, try setting an alarm for an hour or two before you were planning to wake up. For example, if you normally fall asleep at three in the morning and wake up at two in the afternoon, try setting an alarm for 1 o’clock, or noon. For some of you, you may notice yourself getting tired sooner in the night due to the fact that you woke up earlier than normal. It could be as simple as that. Slowly but surely, you may find yourself out by 1 in the morning and up by 10 in the morning… still not good, but hey, at least you got your eight hours!


Napping at a time like this is also very common. I mean, we’re not doing anything… it’s hard not to just fall asleep randomly. But, seriously, try to make a conscious effort to do something productive during the day whether it be going for a walk, cleaning your bedroom, or trying a new recipe. The possibilities are endless. Not only could this help to put a wrench in your daily nap time, it could also wear you out enough for when you hit the hay at night. And when you do go to bed, try to have a night routine, or at least pick one thing to do every night before you go to bed. It could be taking a shower, picking up the clothes off of your floor, grabbing a glass of water for the night, whatever you want. It might set the tone and help get you ready for bed. 


Okay, I can say whole-heartedly that this did not work for me… at all. However, I do know plenty of people who take melatonin supplements and it works out fine for them. Quick little science lesson: Melatonin is a hormone in your brain that helps to let you know when to go to bed and when to wake up. At night, you naturally produce more melatonin, helping you to fall asleep and set that “internal clock” for the morning. For those who don’t produce enough melatonin naturally tend to take supplements. The pills, gummies, or liquid you can buy over the counter are typically meant to be a short term treatment, just to help get you back on track. If you think you need a little help in that department, it can’t hurt to try. Chamomile tea is also said to be a natural remedy for insomnia. 


Next, for our age range, we’ll say 15-19 years old, we need about 7-9 hours of sleep each night to function properly. If you’re a light sleeper like me, and the sun and birds wake you up no problem, try sleeping with an eye mask on to prevent the light from waking you up. If you think that something over your face all night will bother you, try getting blinds or black-out curtains for your windows. As for the birds… idk. I can’t shut them up so you’ll have to do your own research for that. 


Now, this is an app that I have been using for years to try to help me sleep. Sometimes, it works, sometimes it doesn’t. SleepCycle is an app where you can not only personalize sound effects to help you sleep, (my favorite has always been ocean waves) but you can also track your sleeping patterns. It literally will tell you when you roll over and become restless throughout the night. It can also be used as an alarm with so many different alarm sounds to choose from ranging from a normal beeping alarm to music to even a rooster crowing if I’m not mistaken. You can make this app so personal to your needs, I just can’t recommend it enough. Unfortunately, you do have to pay for this app, but I got it so long ago that I don’t even remember how much it was. Seriously though, trust me, it’s worth it. 


Finally, there are a million and one other things I can recommend you try, but if you believe this is a serious problem for you, see a doctor. For me at least, they asked me plenty of questions about my sleeping habits as well as my daily routine to come up with a plan that was right for me to get back on track. It ended up being prescription medicine for me, but that doesn’t mean it will be for you. Again, its trial and error. It can become a long, grueling process just to get eight hours of sleep, but it is so important, especially being as young as we are. However, I’m not saying that staying up late watching movies at a sleepover with your friends is off limits, I mean, go off, but just try to do everything in proportion. Hopefully, your journey to catching those z’s isn’t such a problem for you sooner rather than later. <3