Getting sleep in college is no easy task. Some can run on four hours of sleep and be totally fine. I, on the other hand, look like a ghost if I get less than a full eight hours.
There’s no quick fix for getting good sleep in college, especially when the norm is to stay up late and try to squeeze in as many naps as possible throughout the day. But if you want to avoid waking up with eye bags the size of Africa, here are some tips that have worked for me!
1. Establish a routine.
This one is tough because, for most college students, every day is very different. Sometimes you have class late at night, you have a lot of studying to do, or you want to go out with friends. Nonetheless, establishing a (loose) nighttime routine is helpful in easing your mind and body so you can get the most out of your sleep. Set aside some time for a little bit of relaxation before your head hits the pillow. Whether it’s for five or thirty minutes, try to journal, read, or do a clay mask. Do something for yourself each night that signals your body that it’s time to relax. For me, that means drinking Sleepytime Tea, even though saying that makes me feel like a 75-year-old-woman. I have no shame! It tastes delicious and has ingredients like chamomile and lemongrass that are super soothing.
This will ease your mind and body, putting you in the perfect state for a good night’s sleep. Racing thoughts about your to-do list, plans for the next day, and whatever else floats through your mind prevent you from falling asleep. Tuning into your breath can allow you to quiet those ruminating thoughts, for the most part. The Calm app has some free guided meditations that will leave you snoozing.
3. Use eye-masks and earplugs.
I’ve had a really hard time falling asleep in a city because of all of the noise and the lack of darkness. It’s the most frustrating feeling when you’re restless and distracted in the wee hours of the night just trying desperately to turn your mind off. If you don’t have an eye mask to cover your eyes and make it pitch black, use a thick headband (DIY!). I do this when my roommate is staying up or the lights outside are too bright. Also, earplugs are helpful for the nights when you can’t block out all the noise.
4. Turn off your phone.
This is so important but so difficult. We’ve all had those moments where we mindlessly scroll through Instagram, not even knowing what we’re looking at, and then suddenly three hours have passed and you realize you now only have like seven and a half minutes to slumber. How does that even work? A tip I have to make it less tempting to go on your phone is to put it somewhere farther away from your bed. That way, you don’t have the ease of just reaching out with your eyes closed and grabbing it. I put my phone in its place on my dresser about 30 minutes before I want to go to sleep, and that gives my mind a little bit of time to relax before I doze off.
In the Morning
1. Put cold spoons on your eyes.
My sister taught me this and I made fun of her for it, but then once I tried it, I realized that it actually worked! Keep a couple of metal spoons in your freezer and in the morning, whenever you’re ready, hold the cold spoons on your eyes. I do this for probably three minutes in total and it opens, brightens, and de-puffs my eyes. Also, I recently picked up this eye mask that feels a little better than sticking a couple of freezing spoons on my eyes first thing in the morning.
2. Try to avoid naps.
One of the keys to survival in college is napping, but it can actually do more harm than good. Primarily, if you’re napping during the day, you’re going to be less apt to fall asleep quickly at night because you already did some of your sleeping earlier. If anything, avoid napping in the afternoon and evening and take power naps if you’re really desperate (about 20 minutes).
3. When in doubt, conceal.
No matter what you do, sometimes a good night’s sleep just isn’t in the cards. If you find yourself with giant bags under your eyes, I have two great concealers for you: Laura Mercier Secret Camouflage Concealer if you’re feeling fancy, or Maybelline Master Conceal if you’re broke!