It has long been that time of year, when you are seemingly forced to skip sleep to finish work. Schools really need to learn to value sleep over finishing a few sums, as lack of sums won’t affect you too much, but not getting enough sleep will.

In order to perform to our highest standard, getting an adequate amount of sleep is imperative. When you’re asleep is the only time that the brain can remove toxins that stop you from thinking effectively. These toxins can cause stress, reduce creativity and decrease problem solving abilities. It is for this reason that schools should really start placing emphasis on how important learning to manage your time is, so that you can learn to get daily tasks done, eat, commute and still get a good night’s sleep.

Stress caused by lack of sleep can lead to other conditions such as obesity, acne and migraines. If you think stress only causes internal problems, you are so mistaken. The appetite hormone ghrelin releases more when your body knows it hasn’t slept enough and so you eat more. Along your cheeks and jaw is a “stress line”, where all of the stress hormones literally come to the surface, causing spots to form.

We all get stressed from time to time, but sleep is required to reduce it. Say you’re stressed about an essay, if you haven’t eliminated the toxins that stop you working, then writing this essay will be even harder and the stress will get even worse. Then, because of this stress you may notice spots forming or that your jeans are feeling tighter. This would make you even more stressed.

Sleep deprivation has also had links to heart disease, memory lapses, impaired moral judgement, decreased immune system and growth suppression. Countless studies have proved it can end your life much quicker too.

It is perfectly normal to have some totally sleepless nights for no apparent reason, especially when you’re growing up. Our sleeping patterns change naturally and we just need to adjust. So here is a list of ways to help you optimise your sleep:

-Avoid caffeine before bed. Caffeine gives you a false feeling of energy and you will regret it in the morning.

-Don’t lie in until 1pm on weekends. About an hour before your brain decides you’re going to wake up, hormones are released that make you feel alert. If your sleeping pattern is irregular, your brain won’t be able to do this and get into the cycle of falling asleep and waking from it.

-Try and get work done a few hours before you go to bed. Then, you can wind down and sleeping should be easier.

-If there’s noise or your room is too light, start using ear plugs and maybe use an eye mask or have thick curtains put up.

-Plan your day. Try and do any homework as soon as you get in from school. This way, you’ll have nothing to worry about in the evening and getting to bed on time will be much easier.