A College Student’s Guide to Sleeping

Sleep. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, sleep is “a condition of body and mind which typically recurs for several hours every night, in which the nervous system is inactive, the eyes closed, the postural muscles relaxed, and consciousness practically suspended.” Nope. Doesn’t ring a bell. I defined the word sleep because the concept simply doesn’t exist for many college students. Okay, I might be exaggerating a little bit, but I still believe every college student can relate to this on some level. When school, work, clubs, and life just gets too busy, sleep is often the first thing to go. Losing sleep is a quick trick for gaining more time to finish that 14-page term paper.

Now, I know I’ve just told you things you probably already know. I also have to recognize that I am no expert in sleep by any means. I am currently writing this article on three hours of sleep, two cups of coffee, and one container of Tic Tacs (oh, the irony). However, I have accumulated a few tips and tricks on how to get more sleep during the week while also making the most of the sleep you’re already getting.  

Cue the white noise. Fall asleep to ocean waves like the tropical beauty you are. Ocean waves will help calm down your mind and body, while also drowning thoughts that could be keeping you up. There are lots of great apps and YouTube videos for this, so give it a whirl tonight!

Minimize excess light. Because you shine like a diamond, this can be difficult. However, try adjusting the window curtains to enjoy your slumber in complete darkness. Keeping your bedroom completely dark will help you experience a deeper sleep, which is especially helpful for those late study nights. This also means cutting back on light from computer or phone screens, both of which interfere with your body's natural production of sleep-inducing melatonin.

Get out of your mind. Keep a journal in your nightstand to jot down all those late-night thoughts. If your mind is still going a million miles a minute, just write it out to get a good snooze! This way, you won't have to worry about forgetting your ground-breaking idea by the next morning.

Be consistent. Try to maintain a regular sleep schedule. I know this tip is ambitious and perhaps unreasonable because so often college students have unpredictable schedules, but you have to admit it makes sense. Trying to wake up and go to bed every day at the same time will reset your body clock and actually help improve a lot of bodily functions.

Don't mocha yourself crazy. Limit how late you drink caffeine, trying to keep it before 2 pm every day. As tempting as that triple shot latte may be, caffeine will throw your body into quite a fizzle. Don’t get me wrong, coffee can still have a special place in your heart, but just be aware of how late you are brewing a cup-of-Joe. Also, please appreciate the subtle smiley face in the coffee photo because I think it is absolutely adorable. 

Inhale and exhale. Consider meditation or yoga. Take a deep breath and stretch it out before hitting the hay to relax your mind and joints. The best part is, you can meditate right at home! There are an infinite number of Apps and YouTube videos guiding thirty-minute yoga sessions. Check out one of my favorite beginner yoga YouTube channels, Tara Stiles

Naptime. Embrace the power nap as a cute little afternoon pick-me-up. Now I am not a huge nap person, but those thirty-minute power naps have really saved me during midterm and finals season. Just remember to set an alarm because you don't want to sleep away the day and throw off your schedule. 

I just want to stress that you don’t underestimate the power of sleep in college. While giving up an hour or two of sleep can give us more time in the short term, in the long term, losing sleep can have major effects on our health. Now, I am not trying to make you an even bigger stress ball but just listen to your body. Health should always be a top priority, but it is up to you to make your dreams of sleep come true. Also, if you are currently up late reading this when you should be sleeping, feel free message me because we should be friends… and I will probably be awake too.

Photo Credit: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8