Between busy schedules, studying for exams, attending lectures and socializing, sleep might feel like a luxury to some students. However, sleep deprivation might pose a serious threat to the quality of life, not to mention its effects on academic performance. Here are a couple of tips you can get better sleep while powering through college.
Ensure enough bright light exposure during the day
If you are unable to get enough sleep or have trouble falling asleep, it might be an indicator that your circadian rhythm is not working properly. This natural built-in clock tells our bodies when it is time to go to sleep and also keeps us awake during the day. When the circadian rhythm is disrupted, it may lead to insomnia or feelings of sleepiness during the day. While there are a lot of natural factors that regulate the circadian rhythm, light is the most significant one. A healthy circadian rhythm is largely dependent on the amount of natural light or bright light exposure during the day, and when it is working properly, it boosts your daytime energy levels while also enhancing the duration and quality of sleep. This is why you need to expose yourself to as much sunlight during the day as possible. Have your coffee outside, take your pet for a walk, or do some light exercise outdoors. Also, keep your curtains open to let as much sunlight into your home as you can during the day.
Optimize your bedroom for sleeping
Being able to get a good night’s largely depends on how you design your sleep environment. Because of that, you should put some effort into optimizing your bedroom for sleeping. Start by removing any distractions that might be disrupting your sleep. Turn off any lights and devices that emit blue light in larger amounts – electronics such as flat-screen TVs, tablets, computers, laptops, and smartphones. Steer clear of any electronic devices at least two hours before going to bed. Another thing that could interfere with your intention of getting some rest at night is noise. Now, while some sources of noise can be controlled, others can’t. If you’re having trouble eliminating noise coming from the outside (traffic, neighbors, etc.) or from your household members, consider turning on a sound machine or a fan as they can help mask the noise. If not, you can also get earplugs. Temperature is another factor that contributes to your quality of sleep. An ideal sleeping environment is neither too cold or too cold, and generally speaking, an optimal bedroom temperature should be around 18 °C.
Find the right type of mattress for yourself
Whether your mattress is able to accommodate your needs can make a world of difference between a night of restful, restoring sleep and a sleepless night filled with tossing and turning. Not all mattresses are created equal, and what might seem like a comfortable, perfectly cozy cloud for one individual can mean back pain and spine problems for the other. Fortunately, there are websites you can visit and find out more about the types of mattresses and find the one that best suits your needs as well as your budget. Given how mattresses tend to last from six to eight years, it’s important to take some time to learn the differences between memory foam, spring and hybrid mattresses, and figure out what is the exact type of mattress that would suit your individual needs. Invest in a good one, and you’ll also be making an investment in your health and well-being.
Do your best to keep a regular sleep-wake schedule
We already mentioned how our bodies have a natural sleep-wake cycle, highlighting the importance of keeping it healthy. The best way to do it would be to keep a regular sleep-wake schedule. Make it a priority to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day – this will help create a habit and set your internal clock while also boosting the quality of your sleep. Forming a new habit such as this one can take as little as three weeks, after which you should be able to wake up without relying on an alarm clock to do it for you. As for the daytime napping, you should be careful, limiting yourself to only 15-20 minutes of napping a day. And as tempting it might be to sleep in on weekends, try to fight this urge as it can potentially disturb your sleep-wake schedule. If you feel sleepy after pulling an all-nighter, instead of sleeping in – go for a daytime nap.
Student life can be quite exciting, but it’s also one of the most challenging stages in life. By ensuring you’re energetic and well-rested, you can ensure you’ll be making the most of your uni experience.