Simple steps for restful sleep

By Casey Frye, CCNN Writer

sleeping man
It’s important to get a good night’s rest. You don’t want to fall asleep like this guy!

With school out for the holidays, it must have felt great to finally catch up on all the sleep you missed out on. However, don’t be fooled: school will be back in session before you’ve had time to put away the last of the decorations! Here are a few steps to keep in mind for a healthy sleeping pattern when it’s time to hit the books.

First of all, go to sleep at the same time every night… seven days a week. It’s very tempting to sleep in on the weekends, but according to sleep expert James B. Maas, Ph.D, this just means disrupted sleep during school mornings. “You have one biological clock, not one for the work week and one for the weekend,” he explains. “You must synchronize the circadian sleepy phase of your biological clock with your bedtime, and the alert phase with your waking life, otherwise a yo-yo schedule will give you symptoms similar to those of jet lag — daytime drowsiness, slow reaction time, impaired cognition, moodiness, [and] lack of energy.”

When your pajamas are on and the lights are off, pay attention to the temperature of the room.

According to Maas, overheating can really mean a night of tossing and turning. It’s tempting to pile on the covers and sleep with a thick pair of socks, but if the room is already warm, you’re better off with a thin blanket or a breezy fan.

Finally, put those electronic devices down! The light from the screen wakes up the body just about the same as a bright sunny day. “Avoid any electronics at least one hour before bed so that you don’t block melatonin, the sleep hormone that’s secreted when you’re in the dark, and delay the onset of sleep,” says Maas. Besides, the tweets and status updates will still be there when you rise in the morning. If you absolutely cannot stay away from the electronic device, at least set the brightness to the lowest setting.

Keep these steps in mind and hopefully, you’ll never fall asleep in class again.

Featured image courtesy of  RelaxingMusic on Flickr. Image of sleeping student courtesy of Yuvi Panda on Flickr.