Ditch the Tossing and Turning: 12 Tips for Maximizing Your Sleep

 

 

If your sleep patterns are anything like mine, you may find that the nights when you are most dependent on a sound sleep, end up being the most frustrating. While there is no surefire way to eliminate restlessness or anxious thoughts before bed, a few simple changes to your bedtime routine can have a surprisingly large impact on your ability to fall asleep.  

 

Here are some tips that have been effective in helping me relieve stress before bed:

 

  1. Make Use of a Transition Period  

As tempting as it is to hop into bed once your homework is finished, going straight from a stressful activity to sleeping, doesn’t give your mind any time to decompress.If I attempt to do this When I fall victim to this, my mind often remains focused on that calc problem or essay question that I had been working on right before. Simple activities, such as leisure pleasure reading, listening to music, or stretching can be helpful in transitioning from a work mode to a sleep zone.

  1. Ditch the Screen

Phones and computers are a huge time suck. Netflix episodes and Buzzfeed quizzes go on forever, and once you get started, it can take a lot of control to call it quits and power down the device. To make things worse, studies have shown that the light given off by these devices can actually interfere with the release of melatonin (a chemical that helps you fall asleep).

  1. Try Drinking a Cup of Tea

Not only is wrapping your hands around a warm mug automatically calming, but many teas also have natural ingredients that promote relaxation. (Make sure you stay away from caffeinated teas (black, green, white tea!)

 

  1. Stretch it Out

Completing simple stretches or yoga poses before bed helps your muscles relax and stretch out to ensure a more peaceful slumber.

  1. Read a Book

Replacing Netflix with a good book was one of the best decisions I have ever made. Not only would my eyes actually grow heavy, but I looked forward to getting into bed and continuing where I had left off. Be prepared to wake up with your book resting uncomfortably on your face.

 

  1. Craft a Scented Pillow

At my school’s wellness fair, they had a booth where students could craft small pillows filled with scents that are known to induce sleep, such as lavender and jasmine.

If you don’t have time to make a pillow, these scents can also be purchased online as essential oils.

  1. Don’t Underestimate the Power of an Eye Mask and Earplugs

Between roommates and the loud nature of college dorms, these sleep accessories help you tune out distractions and focus on the real task at hand.

 

  1. If a Problem is Looming Over you, Write out your Plan of Attack  

By working through how you plan to solve a problem, it will be easier to go to bed worry- free.

 

  1. Avoid caffeine later in the day

Everyone handles caffeine differently, but I have found that if I drink coffee any time in the late afternoon, I tend to have trouble sleeping that evening.

  1. Use your bed for sleep only

There’s a reason you may feel tired when you lie down on your bed during the day; your brain associates it with sleep. To keep this relationship strong, avoid doing activities such as eating, homework, or watching T.V, on your bed.

 

  1. Avoid checking the time

Watching the hours of the night drag on can just make you more stressed and aware of how little sleep you are receiving. Remind yourself that no single night of bad sleep can do that much damage.

  1. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

Even if you are still doing homework in your room, dimming the lights 30-45 minutes before you plan on getting ready for bed, helps your internal “sleep clock” adjust for bedtime.

Edited by:  Shatoyia Jones

 

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About The Author

Sophomore at Amherst, Contributing Writer