Sleep for Students

Keep scrolling to find facts, tips, tricks, and app suggestions to conquer problems with sleep

It is a sad fact that most people in our society do not get enough sleep.  This is particularly true of children, who are often sleep-deprived.  Proper sleep habits are important to help regulate mood, boost immunity, enhance focus and memory, and promote an overall sense of well-being.  

Particularly now during the global pandemic, many of us are experiencing boredom, loneliness, an elevated stress level and an overload of information.  These and other factors can cause the mind to race and elevate the body’s arousal system, triggering insomnia.

Most physicians, psychologists, and sleep specialists recommend that children get at least 9 hours (middle and high school) and 10 hours (preschool and elementary).

5 Free Apps to Help with Sleep

Sleep Cycle

This app detects breathing and movement to analyze sleep patterns and determine the best time to wake up. It also offers a variety of sleep stories and sounds to help in the initial falling asleep process.

Sleep Time

This app is a detailed sleep analysis program as well as a gentle alarm clock. This data is then stored to track sleeping habits over time and offer helpful suggestions.


This app features everything sleep, meditation, and relaxation. Through their guided meditations, sleep stories, breathing programs, stretching exercises, and calming music it aims to aid sleep, lower stress, and lessen anxiety.

Headspace: Meditation and Sleep

This app provides hundreds of guided meditations on subjects such as focusing, exercise, and most importantly, sleep. As well as guided meditations it also features playlists, at-home workouts, 2-3 minute mini meditations, and the ability to track your progress.

Shuteye: Sleep Sounds, Tracker

This app provides calming sounds, ambient noise, nature sounds, white noise, as well as a gentle smart alarm and a sleep tracker.

Digipill: Guided Meditation

This app uses psychoacoustics and NLP audio to help change mood, perception, and overall behavior. It focuses on conquering insomnia, as well as increasing motivation, reducing stress, gaining confidence, and becoming more creative.

How to Get a Better Nights Sleep

Now is the time to develop and practice healthier sleep habits.  Based on the work of Lisa Medalie, PsyD, DBSM, a behavioral sleep medicine specialist at the University of Chicago Medicine, here are some strategies to help promote proper sleep:

Create a sleep schedule. Have a pre-determined sleep/wake schedule and stay as close to it as possible

Limit screen time at night. Turn off your devices one hour before bedtime. Leave your cell phone charging in another room.  Adults are likely to read news on their devices in bed; children are likely to remain engaged on social media.  Both are likely to elicit strong emotions and raise our stress levels.

Avoid/limit caffeine. Some people are particularly sensitive to caffeine.  Many children get excessive caffeine without realizing it (such as large drinks at Starbucks or Dunkin’ Donuts, and Red Bull or Monster energy drinks).

Find time for you. Identify the hour before bedtime as “me time,” with minimal conversation and electronic engagement.  Take a hot bath/shower, play soothing music, try a meditation app and read a book or magazine.

Minimize naps. Daytime sleep should be less than 30 minutes and before 2 p.m. If you have any trouble falling asleep, avoid napping.

Try breathing exercises. Use ten slow deep breaths to fall asleep and return to sleep. Ideally, the exhale should be a little bit longer than the inhale.

Gain control over stress. During the lockdown, people can feel isolated and bored. Try new activities and hobbies — painting, writing, photography, indoor exercise videos, etc. Find ways to stay connected with friends and family as much as possible. Consider therapy if the stress feels unmanageable.

Structure your daytime schedule. Commit to daily activities (e.g., exercise, meals, socializing) at certain times to build structure to your days. This will support a regular bedtime and wake time.

Get exercise. Being physically active during the day can help you fall asleep more easily at night.

Don’t sleep too late. Many children—particularly teens—will get enough hours, but stay up very late and sleep very late.  This could throw off normal circadian rhythms.

For more information:

The Centers for Disease Control

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine

The University of Chicago Medicine

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