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When you’re juggling school, work, family, friends and a personal life, sleep can sometimes take a back seat. Research shows that most adolescents and young adults don’t get nearly enough sleep due to heavy demands on their schedule. You or your friends may often describe yourselves as “tired” or “sleepy”.  However, maintaining healthy and regular sleep habits can help you be your best self and give you the fuel you need to manage your schedule well and the many different aspects of your life.  Getting more sleep helps you get more done when you are awake.

Most experts recommend that adolescents and young adults get 8-10 hours of sleep a night in order to feel well rested and alert. This might seem like a lot, but by instilling a few simple habits, you can program yourself to get the much-needed sleep you require.    

  • Keep a consistent bed and wake-up schedule, and stick to it every day, even on weekends as often as possible.  A consistent sleep schedule helps your body get in sync with its natural patterns, making it easier to fall asleep at night and get up in the morning.  
  • Make your bedroom a relaxing environment or a “sleep haven”. Keep it cool, dark and quiet if needed to in order to get you in sleep mode.
  • Keep your phone away or on silent to minimize distractions and noise.
  • Avoid caffeine, soda and foods with high sugar content late in the day. 
  • Try to limit screen time, television or talking on the phone late in the evening.  Stick to calm activities such as writing or reading. 
  • Exercise regularly as this helps your body sleep restfully each evening.
  • At night, write out a to-do list or a schedule for the next day so you don’t have to stay up in bed thinking about it.
  • Monitor and keep track of your sleep with an app, tracker, or sleep diary so you can figure out your sleep patterns and what environments and situations help you get a good night sleep. 
  • Avoid naps – this steals from your night. If you must nap, do so for only 20 minutes.

Sleep issues are common. However, there may be situations that go beyond the regular common issues.  A discussion with your provider is recommended when you face the following:   

  • Insomnia for a multiple number of days
  • Restless legs or body parts which keep you up 
  • Breathing issues while sleeping (i.e. sleep apnea) 
  • Frequent nightmares 
  • Narcolepsy, or uncontrollable “sleep attacks” during the day 
  • Sleepwalking 
  • Excessive tiredness even with a healthy sleep schedule 

What questions do I ask?  

  • Are there medicines I can take to help sleep?
  • What are non-medicine sleep helpers?
  • What to do if these suggestions do not work?