A research paper is one of the most common types of academic writing. Its main feature is the presentation, development, and defense of a thesis statement using reliable information from scholarly sources. The length and complexity of a research paper vary depending on the topic and academic level. This sample paper discusses ways to improve sleeping habits by synthesizing information from the literature.

Despite all the research that has been done on sleep, and despite the fact that everyone needs it as an essential function, there is still no single conclusive explanation for why people sleep (Pappas, 2017). Several compelling explanations have, of course, emerged over the decades. For one, scientists know that sleeping decreases energy expenditure. Metabolism and temperature go down, thus allowing an individual to conserve energy. For another, sleep has been associated with restorative processes. Researchers have found that many vital processes such as tissue repair, release of growth hormones, and muscle growth are amplified or occur only during sleep (Walker, 2017). There is no question, therefore, that sleep is vital to human functioning and health. But while this is common knowledge, many people still chronically suffer from sleep deprivation. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention [CDC], as high as 35.2% of American adults get less than seven hours of sleep every night (CDC, 2017). The figures are even higher for some groups. For instance, as high as 70% of college students claim to sleep less than eight hours per night (Emerson, 2018); meanwhile, 60% of college students experience poor quality of sleep (Schlarb et al., 2017). Sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep, in turn, can negatively affect health and academic performance. How can this issue be addressed? Fortunately, there are ways to improve sleeping habits including establishing a routine, avoiding factors that can distract from or disrupt sleep, and making the process as comfortable as possible.

Establish a Routine

One of the ways to improve sleeping habits and quality of sleep is by establishing a routine. Like many other animals, humans have evolved to develop a circadian rhythm, which is a 24-hour cycle that regulates the cycle of sleep and wakefulness. It allows an organism to adapt over the course of a full day (Suni, 2020). For example, the circadian rhythm is the reason why the average person feels sleepy around the same time every day. The circadian rhythm is not the same for everyone. Studies show that people have different rhythms. This is called chronotype. For example, some people’s chronotype prefers sleeping and waking early while some people’s chronotype is the opposite—the proverbial morning lark and night owl (Ashbrook et al., 2020). While chronotypes vary, the rhythm ideally should remain consistent. Disruptions in the rhythm can lead to poor quality of sleep and, subsequently, decreased quality of life and performance. Multiple studies show that people who experience disruptions in sleeping patterns report feeling exhausted, sleepiness during waking hours, and reduced mental and physical performance (Walker, 2017).

One remedy, therefore, is to establish a set routine. Studies show that the average adult needs at least seven hours of sleep every night, while some may require a little less or a little more than that. Regardless of the hours needed, it helps if a person follows a routine as well as allots enough time for sleeping. For example, a person may schedule bedtime at eleven in the evening if they intend to wake up at seven in the morning. Going to bed and waking up in a consistent manner promotes better sleeping habits and restful sleep. People who follow more regular sleep-wake patterns also feel more energetic, productive, and well-rested. This in turn contributes to a higher quality of life (Walker, 2017). Greater productivity is especially important for high-demand situations and positions, such as those encountered by students and workers every day.

Avoid Disruptions and Distractions

While establishing a routine is one way to improve sleeping habits, it should be done alongside other measures. Another important way to improve sleeping habits is eliminating distractions and disruptions. Today, the internet is a basic necessity, which explains why it has become ubiquitous in daily life. Countless people interact with their phones from the moment they wake up to the moment they go to sleep. However, scientists have found out that using phones and similar electronic devices can result in delayed sleeping time and poorer quality of sleep. In particular, the blue light emitted by electronic screens inhibits the production of melatonin, a hormone associated with the sleep-wake cycle. The secretion of melatonin increases during the night, and scientists believe that it is the hormone responsible for making a person feel sleepy (Guarana et al., 2021). Many studies have proven the association between using phones before bedtime and disrupted sleeping patterns. One study involving young adults found that those who use their phones take more time to fall asleep and sleep for fewer hours (Joshi et al., 2021). On the other hand, another study found that refraining from using phones before bedtime allows people to fall asleep faster, improves sleep quality, and lengthens sleep duration, all of which contribute to more restful sleep and better mental and physical performance during waking hours (He et al., 2020). Thus, refraining from the use of phones is a crucial step towards enhancing resting habits.

Electronic gadgets are not the only distractions that should be avoided before sleeping. Others are of the more traditional kind such as physical activity and caffeine. Studies show that intense physical activity causes alertness and prevents sleepiness. While moderate exercise at least an hour before bedtime does not affect the ability to fall asleep and sleep quality, heavier forms of exercise can cause disruptions in the circadian rhythm and sleep pattern (LeWine, 2019). Meanwhile, it is common knowledge that food and beverages containing caffeine prevent sleep since caffeine is a stimulant. Some common food and drink items that contain caffeine include coffee, chocolate, soda, energy drinks, and tea. Finally, drinking too much water before sleeping may also cause disruptions by causing a person to urinate in the middle of the night. In sum, identifying the activities or food and drinks that delay bedtime and avoiding them helps improve sleeping habits and quality.

Create a Comfortable Environment

Finally, turning the sleeping space into a comfortable environment helps improve sleeping habits. One of the main factors that prevent people from falling asleep on time and getting enough rest is discomfort. It could be that the room’s temperature is not right, or that there is too much light streaming into the room, or that the bed is too soft or too hard. Paying attention to such details can aid in forming better sleep habits. For one, keeping the room temperature at a comfortable level promotes sleep. Dimming the lights also minimizes stimulus, since light is associated with increased alertness. If light from the outdoors is streaming in through windows, using thick heavy curtains will keep the room dark. This also has the added benefit of muffling noise from the outside. Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Moreover, some common practices such as playing low soothing sounds and aromatherapy aid in relaxation. Studies show that playing pink noise is associated with more stable sleep and better sleep quality (Zhou et al., 2012). Examples of pink noise are steady rain, low crashing waves, rustling leaves, and other sounds from nature. Researchers discovered that listening to sounds from nature prompts the brain to shift its focus of attention outward, which in turn has a relaxing effect on a person (Gould van Praag et al., 2017). While most people live in urban areas, such sounds can still be played as there are now many mobile apps that play these sounds for hours at no cost. Aromatherapy such as essential oils and sleep sprays has also been found to decrease stress levels and enhance relaxation (Lin et al., 2019). Overall, creating a nice comfortable environment can greatly help in promoting good sleeping habits and sleep quality.

Conclusion

Despite the fact that sleeping is an essential biological function, a big portion of the world’s population experiences difficulty falling asleep and disruptions in resting. For some, this problem may be intense or severe enough to require the intervention of professionals. But for many whose sleeping problems are mild enough to be remedied using conventional means, there are measures that can be followed to aid in resting. First, following a consistent routine minimizes disruptions regardless of the chronotype a person has. Second, avoiding factors that distract from or disrupt resting such as electronic devices, caffeine, intense physical activity, and too much water also helps. Finally, ensuring that the bedroom is a comfortable and inviting space for resting encourages a better quality of sleep. Being able to sleep well and get enough hours of rest ultimately translates to a higher quality of life and greater productivity during waking hours.

While a research paper is a commonly assigned written project, students must remember that there are many other types of papers that will be encountered. These include essays, term papers, theses, and dissertations among others. Sometimes, trying to complete all of these prove to be too difficult and exhausting. Prevent burnout by enlisting the help of a professional writer from CustomEssayMeister. For over ten years, CustomEssayMeister has partnered with students from around the world to produce top-quality papers.


References

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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2017). Short sleep duration among US adults. CDC. https://www.cdc.gov/sleep/data_statistics.html

Emerson, J. (2018, July 27). The importance of sleep for college students. University of South Florida. https://admissions.usf.edu/blog/the-importance-of-sleep-for-college-students

Gould van Praag, C., Garfinkel, S. N., Sparasci, O., Mees, A., Philippides, A. O., Ware, M., Ottaviani, C., & Critchley, H. (2017). Mind-wandering and alterations to default mode network connectivity when listening to naturalistic versus artificial sounds. Scientific Reports, 7(45273). DOI: 10.1038/srep45273

Guarana, C. L., Barnes, C. M., & Ong, W. J. (2021). The effects of blue-light filtration on sleep and work outcomes. Journal of Applied Psychology, 106(5), 784-796. https://doi.org/10.1037/apl0000806

He, J. W., Tu, Z. H., Xiao, L., Su, T., & Tang, Y. X. (2020). Effect of restricting bedtime mobile phone use on sleep, arousal, mood, and working memory: A randomized pilot trial. PLOS One, 15(2), e0228756. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0228756

Joshi, S. C., Woodward, J., & Woltering, S. (2021). Nighttime cell phone use and sleep quality in young adults. Biological Rhythms. https://doi.org/10.1007/s41105-021-00345-6

LeWine, H. (2019, April 1). Does exercising at night affect sleep? Harvard Health Publishing. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/does-exercising-at-night-affect-sleep

Lin, P. C., Lee, P. H., Tseng, S. J., Lin, Y. M., Chen, S. R., & Hou, W. H. (2019). Effects of aromatherapy on sleep quality: A systematic review and meta-analysis. Complementary Therapies in Medicine, 45, 156-166. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ctim.2019.06.006

Pappas, S. (2017, July 19). Why do we sleep. Live Science. https://www.livescience.com/32469-why-do-we-sleep.html

Schlarb, A. A., Friedric, A., & Claßen, M. (2017). Sleep problems in university students – an intervention. Neuropsychiatric Disease and Treament, 13, 1989-2001. doi: 10.2147/NDT.S142067

Suni, E. (2020, September 25). Circadian rhythm: What it is, what shapes it, and why it’s fundamental to getting quality sleep. Sleep Foundation. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/circadian-rhythm

Walker, M. (2017). Why we sleep: Unlocking the power of sleep and dreams. Scribner.

Zhou, J., Liu, D., Li, X., Ma, J., Zhang, J., & Fang, J. (2012). Pink noise: Effect on complexity synchronization of brain activity and sleep consolidation. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 306(7), 68-72. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jtbi.2012.04.006