Student Life

Achieving a Sounder Sleep

Screen Shot 2013-09-26 at 11.32.24 AMBetween homework, exams, part-time jobs, and extra-curricular activities, getting enough sleep is challenging as a college student. However, sleep loss can impair memory, reasoning abilities (important for exams), and lead to various health problems. It can also age skin, leaving permanent dark circles under your eyes — and what 20-something wants that? So although you may feel like a champion after finishing that paper at 4 a.m., your health is at stake.

If you have trouble sleeping, here are some tips on getting a good night’s rest.

Develop a regular sleep/wake schedule.

Creating a schedule will ensure you get an adequate amount of sleep as your body will become accustomed to a routine. How much sleep you actually need depends on your body. Some people need as little as five hours whereas some people need as many as 10 hours to feel refreshed in the morning. So listen to your body, if you feel tired after sleeping eight hours, you may need more sleep.

Watch what you eat and drink before bed.

Eating heavy meals right before bed may cause discomfort and disrupt sleep, so it’s best to avoid late night cravings. Also, refrain from drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol more than four to six hours before bed, as both can prevent a good night’s sleep.

Exercise daily.

Working out regularly can promote better and deeper sleep. However, try not to exercise to close to your bedtime as you’ll be too energized to go to sleep.

Minimize noise and turn off ALL lights.

Make sure your room is quiet completely dark. Electronics are important to turn off too as they can emit light when notifications such as text messages are received. It’s imperative to do so because nighttime exposure to light can suppress melatonin, an important hormone used to control your sleep and wake cycles. To ensure proper sleep, turn your smartphone, laptop, and iPad off.

Create a bedtime ritual.

Develop a routine that lets your body know it’s time to sleep soon. This can include reading, meditating, taking a hot bath, or even watching your favorite TV show before bed.

Manage stress.

Many people have difficulty sleeping due to stress. They take all their problems to bed wasting valuable sleeping time. To avoid this, write down your worries in a journal, letting these thoughts go before bed. Yoga can help too.

Limit day time naps.

As a college student, naps are tempting, especially after pulling an all nighter. However, doing so will disrupt your sleep cycle. If you must, confine naps to 10 to 30 minutes long to avoid poor quality sleep come nighttime. 

By Delilah Mulgannon