Improve Your Emotional State with Better Sleep
Life is full of emotional highs and lows. There's just no way to avoid it, but that doesn't mean there aren't ways to improve your emotional control. Better, or ideally more, sleep can provide the emotional balance and stability you need to handle everything that comes your way.
Keep in mind that teens may need anywhere from seven to ten hours of sleep. If you get less, the brain's emotional processing center goes into overdrive. It becomes more sensitive to anything negative like teasing, a bad test score, or an argument with a friend. At the same time, the brain's logic center becomes less active when you're tired, which means you’re less likely to logically think through negative experiences. Consequently, lack of sleep can cause a short temper, explosive reactions, and intense bouts of sadness, anxiety, or anger.
If your norm is a state of sleep deprivation, which is anytime you get less than the recommended seven hours, there are some changes you can make to get more sleep.
An Electronic Curfew
As a society, we are more interconnected now than we have ever been before, but not all the effects are good. The constant pressure to check social media and stay in contact with friends can cut into your sleep time. Even keeping a smart phone nearby has been shown to cause wakefulness because the temptation to check the phone is still there. Plus, cell phones, TVs, and laptops can give off a bright blue light that dampens the effects of sleep hormones, which makes it harder to fall asleep.
Try setting an electronic curfew for yourself. It should start two to three hours before your bedtime. That way the blue light won't affect your sleep cycle and your brain will have time to disconnect.
Decide on a Bedtime and Keep It
A bedtime may seem like something for little kids but it's good for everyone – kids, teens, and adults. The human body runs on regular twenty-four hour rhythms created in part by the Earth’s natural day-night schedule. When you go to bed at the same time every day, it helps your body recognize when to start your sleep cycle. The more consistent you are, the easier it is for your body to adjust and release sleep hormones at the right time.
Set the Scene for Sleep
Your body needs a room that's cool, dark, and quiet. Everything in your bedroom from the ceiling fan to your curtains should support those needs. Blackout curtains or drapes can help you block out sunlight while a white noise machine might be needed to get rid of the sound of noisy siblings, neighbors, or passing cars.
Color choice on the walls and in the decor can have an impact too. Light, pastel shades in cool colors like blue and green don’t overstimulate the eyes and create a general sense of calm. If those colors aren’t for you, stick with a cool neutral like gray and use warm colors like red and orange as an accent.
Meditate for a Sleep Boost
Do you have a bedtime routine? If not, it's a great way to help you manage and reduce stress before bed. Anything that helps you feel calm can be included. For those who struggle with extreme stress or anxiety, we recommend adding meditation to your routine for the ultimate pre-bed sleep boost. Meditation can lower your heart rate and reduce the stress hormones in your body. It also strengthens the connection between the part of your brain that processes emotions and the part that applies logic, which can prevent mood swings and overly emotional reactions.
The changes that come from getting a good night’s rest can be seen almost immediately. Be patient as you're developing new habits as it can take time for the body to adjust. Most importantly, with consistency, you'll be able to handle everyday stress with a clear mind and stable emotions.
Which piece of advice are you most excited to try this evening?