How to Get More Hours of Sleep

24 Feb 2019 - Vivian Hir

It is not surprising that most students barely sleep because they have a heavy course load, do a lot of extracurricular activities along with other reasons. Unfortunately, most of them have this assumption that it isn't possible to even get 7-8 hours of sleep a day and think that "sleep is for the weak" when really sleep is essential to physical and mental health. Although this post may not make you get a good 8 hours of rest, it may help you to get extra minutes of sleep without having to sacrifice your grades and activities. So let's get started!
1. Digital minimalism
I cannot emphasize this point enough. Even if I am not an actual digital minimalist as I am still subject to distractions, trying to spend less time on your phone and computer is a lot helpful. You can see my previous articles on helpful extensions and programs on computers to block distracting websites. For my phone, the main reason why I don't spend much time on it is that I don't use social media and don't have any gaming apps. Messaging is a form of communication I use. However,  I limit time on by spending around 5 minutes a day or else it can turn into a 45 minute session. Also, I check my screen time statistics every day and feel embarrassed about how I underestimate my time by 15 minutes. For me, these screen time minutes are like a challenge: see how little time you can spend on your phone. In this scenario, I believe that less is more. In all honesty, you don't really need to use your phone except for calling important people like your parents. In fact, leaving your phone out makes you have fewer thoughts about if you have to respond as soon as possible to one single text message or email because you don't need to. There is a common fear among people that if you don't respond as soon as possible, this isn't a good form of communication. However, it doesn't hurt to reply at a specific time once a day for a short duration rather than being very sporadic and intermittent.
Estimated time saver: 30 minutes-1 hour.
2. Planning out your day
Usually, I plan out my day during the night before it actually happens. With an organized schedule on your purpose, goals, and agenda of the day, it makes you less lost about what you are suppose to do. On my schedule, I usually write the time of day by creating blocks and estimate the amount of time it should take.
Estimated time saver: 15 minutes-30 minutes.
3. Maximizing time at school
I may be wrong, but I believe that most schools offer flex or study period time so students can ask teacher questions. If your school has academic prep, USE IT! Let's say your flex time is 45 minutes long. If you do 45 minutes of homework during that time, then that means you have 45 minutes of free time at home to sleep earlier or do your own pursuits. I can understand how it can be tempting to sit with your good friends and have fun by chatting or watching funny videos. Sorry to be blunt, but it is a wasted opportunity by using study period as free time rather than homework time. If your school or schedule doesn't have academic prep, that doesn't mean you can't do homework at school. Think of the time when you are bored during lunch and have nothing to do. This sounds very nerdy, but it doesn't hurt to ask your teachers questions if they are available or do some homework problems.
Estimated time saver: Depends on period duration. 30 minutes-1 hour.
4. Study less, study smart (a process that is still being determined)
 I would say I have a hard time with how to be efficient with studying. I am not the only victim as I have this fear that you have to study x amount of hours to get a good grade. In reality, this shouldn't be the case. The easiest way to not to spend too much time on studying is by using the active recall method so you can effectively identify weak spots. Once you go over your weak spots until you get them correctly, you are done. You don't need to go over things you are strong in because that wouldn't really help you a lot. Last but not least, ask friends and teachers about your concerning questions or else you will keep making the same mistakes. Sure, you may get 2-4% less on a test because you didn't study that much, but when you think about it in the long run, it may be more reasonable to spend that time on other productive activities as well as getting a good amount of sleep.
Estimated time saver: 1 hour-2 hours
Total amount of hours saved (if attempted to follow procedure): around 2.5 hours. 
I hope this may help. I understand that I may not have addressed all the issues related to sleep because some people have severe insomnia.
Vivian Hir is a high school student who lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. Her blogs can be found here. Constructive feedback is appreciated.