As you have learned by now, likely through experience, the quantity and quality of sleep you get can affect academic performance, social life, mood, appetite… The list goes on and on. This is an issue for many college students, as quality sleep is arguably one of the most influential, yet neglected components of health. The effects of sleep deprivation can spill over into all areas of life and are definitely worth paying attention to. If you are not one of those people with the ability to fall asleep anytime, anywhere, you will need to take more proactive measures to make this category of your well-being fall into place. Here are some simple strategies worth trying:
1. Have your caffeine earlier in the day.
You may be unknowingly sabotaging your sleep with that late afternoon cup of Earl Grey. It may be tempting to stop by the coffee shop before your evening seminar, but think ahead to how this will affect your ability to fall asleep afterwards. On the topic of beverages, many people seem to think that alcohol will help them sleep. Ironically, the opposite is true. (Yes, you may fall asleep with ease, but your quality of sleep will suffer, setting you up for grogginess the next day.)
2. Create a helpful mindset.
You must eliminate any preconceived notions that sleep is an issue for you. How are you going to get any shut-eye if you go to bed expecting to stay awake for hours? Instead of focusing on how you can never fall asleep at night, go in pretending that you are someone who can. Also, meditation is a great way to get into a sleepy mindset.
3. Tune out all distractions.
Invest in quality earplugs; they are worth it! Block out all light, noise, and sound, especially if you are a light sleeper. Get an eye mask while you’re at it. These things may not seem like a big deal, and therefore many people don’t bother doing them, but they can make a pretty big difference.
4. Listen to your body.
As soon as you start feeling sleepy, jump on this opportunity and go to bed. Take advantage of these moments, even if they happen earlier than you would expect. Alternatively, if you are wired, instead of suffering the frustration of lying awake for hours, try doing something calming yet productive, like cleaning your room.
5. Tackle stress.
If you lie awake at night with nagging thoughts and worries running through your head, it is important to find out what is keeping you up and address these issues. Resolve these problems in order to sleep more soundly, and if you can’t, get your thoughts out by venting to a friend, a counselor, or a notebook.
Exercise is basically the cure-all for everything. Just be sure time it right; late night gym sessions could leave you awake for hours (unless you are doing something like yoga).
7. Bore yourself to sleep.
Desperate? Read your textbook from your least favorite class. Start that dreaded homework assignment. Read the dictionary. You may find that you were more tired than you originally thought.
Bad sleeping habits are easy to develop in college and may even seem like the norm, but ensuring proper shut-eye can have quite a dramatic effect on your overall well-being. It makes it easier to pay attention in class, focus on your studies, make better decisions, and become an overall more balanced person. With the constant distractions college brings, this is something you must be proactive about, or else it will be put on the back burner. As with many things, consistency is key. Then, you will be left to appreciate the benefits of feeling well-rested.
Article by Brynn Kron
Feature Image Source: The Atlantic