Avoid late nights, bright lights, noise and worry to get your rest and have a successful year, expert advises
WEDNESDAY, Aug. 10, 2016 (HealthDay News) -- When a new school year begins, many teens have a hard time readjusting their sleeping habits.
But there are a number ways to prepare, according to Michael Scullin. He's an assistant professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor University in Waco, Texas, and director of Baylor's Sleep Neuroscience and Cognition Laboratory.
- Get a head start on resuming a normal sleep schedule. "If you go to bed after midnight on Sunday before class starts, it's going to be a tough Monday. It's very hard to shift your schedule overnight, so parents need to start imposing that a few days early," Scullin said in a university news release.
- Avoid bright lights in the evening. "Phones, tablets, laptops, television... It's hard to get those completely out of the post-dinner schedule, but you don't want to be crawling into bed with the phone. And if there are bright lights outside, you might block them out with blackout curtains," Scullin said.
- Don't have caffeine after late afternoon and be careful about late meals. "A heavy meal isn't great for sleep," Scullin said. "Research shows that food high in saturated fats interferes with quality sleep. Foods that are high in fiber and low in saturated fats are better."
- Keep your bedroom quiet. Earplugs are a good option if there are noises such as a busy road or snoring roommate.
- Writing can help keep your worries under control. "A lot of students have anxiety about school, both from the academic side and the social side," Scullin said. "Anxiety can interfere with good sleep. For insomnia, some cognitive behavior therapists recommend listing in a journal everything you're worried about."
The National Sleep Foundation has more on teens and sleep.