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Tips and tricks to fall asleep easily

Studies show that students only receive a fraction of the sleep they need. Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

[dropcap size=dropcap]T[/dropcap]ossing and turning in your bed can be extremely frustrurating when you have a big test or game the next day. Even if you don’t, as a teenager it’s important to catch enough sleep on a daily basis.

However, today many lifestyle habits and choices are making it much harder for teens to fall asleep. Statistics from the Palo Alto Medical Foundation show that most teens only get six to seven hours of sleep instead of the nine hours they need.

Sleeping is especially important for young adults, as it helps regulate growth hormones, strengthen the immune and nervous system, and replenish the body by decreasing heart rate.

Difficulty falling asleep among teens is naturally common. Finishing after school activities and homework can often leave students up late into the night, disrupting the body’s internal clock. This leads to an inverse cycle where the body finds it increasingly hard to fall asleep. Use the following tips and tricks to fall asleep with no trouble.

Tricks to fall asleep easily

1. Avoid technology before you sleep
The harsh lights from your television, phone, or iPod can stimulate the brain, so don’t expose yourself to these devices around the time you go to bed. If you need to listen to your iPod in order to fall asleep, change the screen brightness to the lowest level possible.

2. Eat before 8 p.m.
Give your stomach time to digest before you hit the pillow, as this often disrupts the body’s ability to rest. It does this by causing an unbalance within your digestion system as well as your natural hormone cycle. Eating before late hours is also good for weight loss, as food will get fully digested for energy and not stored away as fat

3. Don’t have caffeine late in the afternoon

Caffeine should be consumed in the morning or early afternoon, so avoid having it as an late afternoon treat. A cup of coffee can keep you awake for at least four to six hours. Opt for healthier choices instead, such as smoothies. Caffeine is not only found in coffee, but also in chocolate.

4. Don’t exercise after dinner
Or at least three hours before you go to bed. Exercising raises your body temperature, which makes it harder for you to fall asleep.

5. Take a hot bath
Not only does the warm water soften tense muscles, but it also helps enables your body to fall asleep faster. When you get out of a hot bath, the temperature drop that occurs in your body makes you sleepy.

6. Stretch
If you have trouble falling asleep, don’t be afraid to get out of bed and do some light stretching. As you stretch, tense muscles relax and the process also soothes the mind, promoting sleep.

7. Drink caffeine-free tea
A variety of teas, such as Chamomile, peppermint, or Celestial Seasoning’s Sleepytime Tea can relax the mind and ready it for sleep. Avoid types with caffeine in them such as black tea or green tea.

8. Forget your worries
If you cannot sleep because you are worried, do mind exercises to put your mind somewhere else. Focus on the details of a certain object. Imagine its color, shape, and size. Or, forget your worries by recalling good memories and pleasant events. Reciting song lyrics can also be effective.

9. Muscle relaxation
Relaxing your body is helpful in falling asleep, so try progressive muscle relaxation exercises. Tense your arm and leg muscles, and then relax them. Do this while breathing deeply.

With the helps of these tips, falling asleep should come easier, and a full night of sleep should help you stay more alert and focused with whatever the next day’s activities bring.

Illustration credit: Credit: Lucy Knowles/The Foothill Dragon Press

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Tips and tricks to fall asleep easily