How Students Can Optimize Sleep

Ethan Bartucca, Sophomore Contributor

There is no question that us growing teenagers could benefit from more sleep. I’d say the typical night for a high schooler involves binge-watching TV, playing Fortnite, and finding other ways to relax after the long school day, and more often than not, saving homework for last. After finally getting relaxed, most of us will put our heads on the pillow anywhere from 10-11:30 at night, only to wake up roughly 7 hours later and do it all again. Obviously one solution would be to get more rest, but that can’t always be done. Our sleep patterns, however, can make for a much more productive day.

The Science Behind Sleep

Humans have different stages of sleep, called NREM, and REM. Basically, NREM sleep is the twisting and turning, not quite peaceful sleep. After about 75 minutes of falling into deeper and deeper sleep, most people hit what is called REM sleep. REM sleep is when your heart-rate slows, and your body stops moving, this is also when dreams can happen. This last for about 15 minutes and the cycle repeats.

What This Means For You

If you’ve ever had those mornings where your alarm rings, you wake up and you have no desire to get out of bed. This most likely means you woke up in a deep stage of NREM sleep or REM sleep alone. Therefore, we should set our sleep in intervals of 90 minutes, in order to wake up feeling energized. I tested this idea, and I was surprised how much better I felt in the morning when sleeping for just 7 hours and 30 minutes, but using an interval of an hour and a half.


My biggest recommendation, if you have an iPhone, would be using the Bedtime section of the Clock app. You can easily calculate how much sleep you need to get, and simply set it at an interval of 90 minutes. Another way to help your body would be to get in a nightly routine so your body can recognize when its time for bed. Hopefully this will help you optimize your sleep so you can wake up ready for the day.

Image result for sleep cycles