Happy Labor Day! A day of celebration and rest. In the US, Labor Day is a public holiday that honors the history of the American work force and the ways that workers contributed to the prosperity of their country. It’s a holiday when most people get the day off work, throw parties with their friends, and relax with their families. It’s a day when everyone is given a chance to slow down and rest.
While we’re on the topic of rest - did you know that only 15% of high schoolers say they get 8 1/2 hours of sleep on a school night? That’s a statistic from the National Sleep Foundation (yes, there’s such a thing). Teenagers need about 8 to 10 hours of sleep each night to function best. Unfortunately though, teens tend to have irregular sleep patterns throughout the week, staying up late on school nights and sleeping in late on the weekends which damages their biological clock that makes sleep rejuvenating.
Now we all know that as a teenager, it’s often difficult to find time to rest. Between online school courses, projects, sports practices, clubs, volunteer engagements, and other activities, it sometimes feels like there simply aren’t enough hours in a day.
But rest is essential. Creating space and time for rest takes discipline and practice, but it is definitely a habit that will improve the quality of every sphere of your life.
Here are some ideas and motivators to help you, a busy online school student, cultivate good rest.
Change your sleep environment.
Especially as an online school student, you’re plugged into technology for great amounts of time. Technological devices can be over-stimulating and distracting from good sleep and true rest. Blinking bright lights can take away from a peaceful sleeping environment. Removing computers, cell phones, and other electronics from your bedroom can help you create a restful environment and a deeper sleep.
Eat healthy food and try to stay away from caffeine.
Drinking some coffee in the morning is a lovely habit for so many people, and there is certainly nothing wrong with consuming a little caffeine to help you stay alert and ready to study. But remember that the effects of caffeine can stay with you for many hours, so it’s best to avoid it for at least 5 hours before bedtime.
Speaking of a bedtime - schedule one!
Bedtimes might seem childish and a better use for your younger siblings, but having a regular bedtime and sleeping schedule will help your biological clock stay in synch - ensuring that you feel tired when it’s time to sleep and alert and rejuvenated when it’s time to be awake.
Remember, rest is good for your health, and so is exercise and time outdoors.
Sleep benefits your heart, immune system, muscles, metabolism and lots more. We need rest just as much as we need exercise to build healthy bodies. Exercise is also a great way to expend energy thus enabling you to be tired and ready for a good night’s rest.
Engage in activities that force you to slow down.
- listen to music
- take a bath
- draw/paint/make a collage
- >play a musical instrument
- get a message
- go on a hike and enjoy nature
Simply being quiet and allowing yourself space to be alone can be a great way to realign your senses and find rest and peace.
Which of these tips will you try in order to find rest and improve your sleep? Can you think of other things that help you create good rest? Life can be chaotic and being a teenager is difficult sometimes. But remember that you have the power to build healthy habits and live your own version of a remarkable life.