The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

The student news site of Peddie School

The Peddie News

The Importance of a Good Sleep Routine + How to Perfect One

Person holding a clock (Public Domain)

Back in early March, the U.S. jumped through time. Daylight savings had come, and people all across the globe were springing one hour forward. However, the practice is slowly becoming less popular, with Pew Research Center reporting that, as of October, only a third of countries still participate in these clock resets. Even in the U.S., involvement varies. Certain territories, along with the states of Hawaii and Arizona, have opted out. Nevertheless, most of the country still got less sleep on March 10th, when clocks from Maine to California skipped a whole 60 minutes.


This small disruption is temporary; most individuals adjust fairly quickly to the slight time differences and schedule changes. Their body gets used to sleeping and waking what feels like one hour earlier (or later with the fall daylight savings switch). But what about other factors that disrupt sleep? How does the body recover from constant late nights filled with binge-watching Netflix series and early mornings spent cramming for tests and unfinished homework? The truth is, it doesn’t.


The buildup of poor sleep habits can, in the long run, have damaging effects on one’s physical health and can impact the proper execution of daily tasks, says Johns Hopkins Medicine. One singular night of sleep deprivation may feel fine, but if it becomes a pattern, it will cause the body’s functional ability and one’s mental health to decline over time. While that doesn’t mean lack of sleep will immediately shorten your lifespan, it may have a negative influence on your assessment performance, social life, and overall well-being. 


Bad habits, however, aren’t so easily broken. Whether it’s the allure of social media, procrastination on lengthy assignments or staying up late because you’re a night owl, breaking the cycle of late sleep, as with any routine, is difficult and requires stamina and resolve. Seize the opportunity to kickstart your better sleep journey! Even if you’re happy with the amount of rest you’re currently getting, consider reading through the following tips on how to perfect a healthy sleep routine: Who knows? It might prove useful. 


Go to bed at the same time. Consistency is key; research shows that settling on a stable sleeping routine is healthier than making constant and drastic changes. However, that doesn’t mean that late bedtimes can’t be remedied; start with small adjustments every few days. For example, go to bed earlier by 15–30 minutes and increase those increments once or twice a week. Choose what works best for your schedule and listen to your body. Above all, make sure that it’s manageable. If you can’t keep it up, chances are you’ll fall back to the same unhealthy sleep habits. 


Alleviate stress. I know, easier said than done. But as much as you can, try to minimize the daily stressors that you bring with you to bed. Many aspects of life cause stress, and there are many resources available to help you manage it. Getting adequate sleep can also help lower stress levels! Here are a few things you can do on your own:


  • Meditate. There are many useful apps, websites and products that aid in at-home meditations and breathing exercises. The main goal is to clear your mind before you drift off to sleep. With the hustle and bustle of daily life, it can be hard to get rest without finding yourself thinking about other topics. Focusing on a guided meditation can release tension from the day and empty your head of the hundreds of thoughts buzzing around. 

  • Take time to wind down. Another great way to clear your mind is to take time before bed to do a calming activity. Put your phone down and in another room, or at least a good distance from your bed. Read a book. Listen to a calming podcast or music. Reflect on the day. 

  • Don’t overstimulate. Watching television can be a good way to detox after a long day, but doing it too close to bedtime can excite your brain when all it wants is to shut down. Avoid bright lights and intense physical activity and detox with a more mindless pastime.

  • Unfortunately, this also includes phones, so limit your screen time. As noted by well-recognized sleep device company Loftie, it is scientifically proven that using your phone right before bed “stimulates both the body in [sic] mind in ways that specifically disrupt healthy sleep cycles.” Even though it may feel relaxing to mindlessly scroll away, it can be more harmful than helpful. One study even found a correlation between restricting phone usage and increased perceived life quality.


If you’re still unsure or skeptical, remember: there’s no harm in trying. The first step to building any habit is starting. As someone who feels more awake and motivated at night, I often find myself struggling to make these good choices for myself; they can feel boring and less appealing than other unhealthier options that give instant gratification. I also worry that by ending my day sooner, I’m missing out on valuable things. 


However, I’ve recently been making more of an effort to increase the frequency with which I integrate some of these techniques into my routine, and although I’m by no means perfect, it has definitely made me a lot happier. I no longer view sleeping early as cutting myself off; rather, I’ve realized that it gives me the energy to explore new opportunities and do more of the things I love


Even with good sleep, finding time to focus on yourself may, at times, seem like an extraordinarily tall order. I have as much trouble as anyone with time management; balancing work and personal life is no easy task. But I do believe that sleep helps determine how I feel about the relationship between different facets of my life. And many things — like productivity levels and mental health — fall on spectrums. They fluctuate. It is impossible to always be in control of your life, and no one should hold you to that standard. Especially not yourself. Just like anyone else, you’ll have good and bad days. It’s our job as humans to recognize this and do what we can to minimize those bad days, all while cherishing the good ones. 

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