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ARE YOU GETTING ENOUGH SLEEP?

School, sports, homework, friends — with so much to do in a day, it can be tough to find time to rest. We’ll give you tips to ensure you’re getting the sleep you need to perform at your best.
Catching the right amount of zzzzs at night is just as important for your body as air, water and food. You need plenty of sleep to function properly, and when you don’t get enough, your day can suffer.

Most teens need at least 8.5 hours of sleep to perform at their best, but many are only getting between 6 and 7 hours! Aside from busy schedules, that number could be the result of irregular sleep patterns. Teens tend to stay up late all week and sleep in on the weekends only. (Sound like you?) While catching up on sleep on the weekends seems like a good idea, it can affect your biological clock and result in poor quality of sleep overall.

How do you know if you’re getting the right amount of sleep for your body? Ask yourself 4 questions:

1. Do you have difficulty waking up in the morning?
2. Do you find it hard to concentrate in school?
3. Do you fall asleep in class?
4. Do you feel moody at times?

If you answered yes to one or more of these questions, you may need more sleep. Here are 5 tips to help ensure you’re snoozing the proper amount of hours per night.

Take naps. Napping can boost your energy throughout the day and work more efficiently. However, taking naps that are too long or too close to your bedtime can have an adverse effect, interfering with your nightly slumber.
 
Turn your room into a sleep oasis. At night, keep your bedroom cool, quiet and dark. Unplug the nightlight and turn the alarm clock away from you. Only let in bright light in the morning — this helps to signal your body to wake up.

Have a regular sleep pattern.
Try to go to bed and wake up the same time every day. This may be difficult, as we tend to savor our free time on the weekends, staying up late at night and catching up on missed sleep in the morning. Setting a steady sleep pattern will benefit you in the end. You’ll feel well rested and refreshed every day of the week. 
 
Don’t exercise, eat or drink before bed. Exercise, food and beverages — especially caffeine — are stimulants, which will make it more difficult to relax your body and mind as you prepare for sleep. Avoiding these things several hours before bed will ensure you wind down and drift off to sleep more easily.

Turn off the TV, computer and phone. Many people like to fall asleep watching TV or playing a game on their cell phone or tablet, but this can result in restless sleep. The bright lights from electronic devices signal our brains to wake up. Turn them off and turn in!  

Relax. Everybody has a go-to trick to relax. Whether it’s meditating, taking a hot shower or bath or listening to soft music, do what helps YOU relax before bed!

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