Sleep is a vital component to our physical and mental health! There are many different reasons that people experience trouble sleeping including anxiety, stress or physical conditions.
Overall, we have the tendency to not prioritize sleep due to busy schedules and the false notion that we can make it up later. College age students (ages 18-24) are recommended to get 7-9 hours of sleep each night. We should be treating sleep as #1 on our “to-do lists” every day.
Basic Strategies for Better Sleep
- Take a Nap
- It is true: Power Naps are Udderly Important! A 20-30 minute power nap has shown to be beneficial as a supplement to getting your 7-9 hours of sleep. Naps can boost energy and help increase memory. If you find that you are unable to wake up after 20-30 minutes, it could be a sign that you are not getting enough sleep at night.
- Avoid Over-sleeping
- Get up around the same time every day (weekends too!), even on a morning after you have lost sleep. Sleeping late for just a couple of days can reset your body clock to a different cycle – you will be getting tired later and waking up later.
- Set Your Body Clock
- Light helps restart your body clock to its active daytime phase. So when you get up, get some sunlight in your room. If that's not possible, turn on all the lights in your room and walk around for a few minutes.
- Keep physically active during the day. This is especially important the day after a bad night's sleep because when you sleep less, you should be more active during the day. Studies have shown that strenuous exercise (brisk walking, swimming, jogging, squash, etc.) in the late afternoon may promote more restful sleep.
Develop a Bedtime Routine
Thirty minutes to an hour before bed, stop studying and do not engage in any stimulating discussions or activities. Do something relaxing instead.
Stretching and deep breathing can be helpful relaxation routines several minutes before getting to bed.
Avoid caffeine in the late afternoon onwards. Caffeine, a chemical in coffee, colas, tea, chocolate, etc., causes hyperactivity and wakefulness which can disrupt your sleep.
Cut down on alcohol. Alcohol might help you get to sleep, but it results in shallow and disturbed sleep, abnormal dream periods, and frequent early morning awakening.
Sleeping environment is critical. Sleep in a cool room (60 degrees or so). Pile on another blanket to stay warm. Some people seem to sleep better if there is a white noise–a fan running, or the noise of an oil diffuser–in the background.