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5 Steps to Quality Shut-Eye

Trouble falling asleep? Read on to learn on ways to improve your shut-eye time.

Especially at this time of year, students are scrambling to keep up with ever-growing workloads, demanding extracurriculars, and jobs. With only 24 hours in the day, this

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leaves less than optimal time for some quality shut-eye. Although fitting in nine hours a night would be nice, most of us end up settling for 7, 6, 5, or even a solid 0 hours on select nights. So, with such little time to spare, getting the highest quality of sleep can leave you feeling much better in a shorter amount of time.


1. Preparation: Now we can all be found guilty of turning to our phones, laptops, or TV’s right before bed. While it is ideal to stop the usage of these for at least one hour before falling asleep, this is a sacrifice many are not willing to give up. Instead, it is suggested that you turn down the brightness and use Night mode in an effort to prepare your eyes early on. Harsh white light, especially in the dark, is a key reason why you can find yourself tossing and turning for several minutes or hours afterward.

2. Stay Consistent: Especially for students with unpredictable schedules, it can be difficult to fall asleep or wake up at the same time each day. Drastic alterations in sleep times are extremely common among teenagers and young adults. Research shows that this can interfere heavily with your ability to fall asleep easily. Staying up extremely late on one night can lead to falling asleep during the day and thus continuing this deadly cycle. To combat this, scientists recommend finishing the day’s work at around the same time each day. While this will take planning and efficiency on your part, the rewards every morning are numerous, as you will wake up feeling much more refreshed.

3. Get Comfy: A big part of falling asleep is the environment that you are in. Take a few minutes each night to clean up around you and turn off all lighting. Ensuring that your bed is comfortable and that the temperature is ideal can allow you to have a much easier time getting to bed.

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4. Watch Your Intake: Many people tend to forget that the iced coffee you had afterschool will actually hinder your ability to sleep later in the day. Avoid caffeine for at least 4 hours before you sleep.  It has been found to impact stages 3 and 4 of sleep which impact REM sleep and dreaming. These stages are essential for the brain to repair itself and prepare for the new day ahead. Additionally, feeling extremely full can cause discomfort and an inability to sleep soundly. Stop eating food for at least an hour or two before bed to avoid this problem and quickly get to sleep.

5. Sleep on Your Side: Your lymphatic system removes unneeded debris from your brain while you are sleeping. A build-up of this debris can lead to Alzheimer’s and many other diseases. Sleeping on your side allows your body to detox and remove this debris.

While many of these tips may seem like common sense, it’s amazing how many of them we fail to follow through on during the week. While they may seem small, they have high impacts on your sleep and can leave you feeling groggy and drowsy in the morning. Improving the quality of what little sleep time you have can be essential to allowing you to conquer the day ahead.



Hi! My name is Sindhuja Uppuluri and I'm a junior from Austin, Texas. I'm passionate about medicine, but high school has allowed me to discover the power of scientific breakthroughs as well. Being an ISEF alum, I have had the opportunity to not only expand on my own discoveries but be exposed to an ever-expanding network of young innovators and scientists. When I’m not in a lab, you can find me at a debate tournament, working on one of many clubs at my school, or drinking copious amounts of coffee. I can’t wait to use this platform to contribute exciting and informative content to you all!

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