“Are you getting enough sleep?” is often a question our moms or doctors ask us whenever they see us. As college students, the answer to this question is pretty much never “yes” (and if it is, I’m betting you’re lying to get mom/doctor off your back!). It seems as though when we started college and officially took on the roles of college students, we all somehow signed an unwritten contract stating that for the next 4(ish) years, we would be constantly exhausted and unhealthy all in the name of chasing a degree.
Try asking yourself that fated question: are you getting enough sleep? Sleep seems to be the first thing that college students will sacrifice for any number of more “important” things like studying, sports, a thriving social life, Netflix and more. We all know deep down that we should get more sleep, so why don’t we make it a priority?
The good news is we aren’t alone. Cofounder and editor in chief of The Huffington Post, Arianna Huffington, recently published her latest book, The Sleep Revolution, and it is a major wake up call (see what I did there?). Huffington got serious about sleep after literally collapsing from exhaustion in 2007 and is here to tell us all that we should too. As part of her book, she’s come up with what she calls “The Sleep Revolution Manifesto,” which details 12 truths that everyone should recognize and stick to.
1. "Sleep is a fundamental and non-negotiable human need."
This one hits hard. Our bodies need sleep to function, so why do we deprive them of it? Is it worth it to stay up until all hours reading that last article for your history class? Or, would it serve you better to get those extra hours of sleep so you can actually pay attention in your history class?
2. "Sleep allows us to see the world with fresh eyes and a reinvigorated spirit."
Imagine waking up for a 9am class feeling reinvigorated and fresh. Wouldn’t that make the day so much more enjoyable?
3. "We may be what we eat, but also, to be sure, we are how we sleep."
So maybe sleeping with our laptop keyboards as a pillow isn’t the best idea…
4. "Exhaustion is a sign of chaos, not a badge of honor."
It seems like we’re always quick to explain how busy we are to fellow students and friends when we see them in class or pass them on campus. Somehow, this seems like an unspoken accomplishment or a mark of a full life. In reality we should take a step back and reevaluate where our time and energy is actually being spent.
5. "A good day starts the night before."
In college it seems like days and nights become blurred together much too often. For many people, it is rare that they are asleep when the clock strikes midnight and a new day dawns. Welcoming a new day is much easier to do when a good night’s sleep comes before it.
6. "We will treat ourselves as well as we treat our smartphones, making sure we sleep until fully recharged."
Everyone knows that sense of panic when your phone is at 1% with no charger in sight. Recognizing that our bodies get down to 1% and need to be recharged is a hard thing to do but so necessary in order to live a healthy life.
7. "The bedroom is for sleep, not work."
This is tricky in college as oftentimes our bedrooms and our workspaces are the same room. To modify this, we should try our best to not bring work or studying onto our actual beds. Reviewing your notes one more time while lying in bed really won’t help you that much in the grand scheme. Leave your work on your desk or out of reach and you’ll sleep much more peacefully!
8. "We will usher our smartphones out of the bedroom when we go to bed."
Oh boy, this is a tough one. Many of us scroll through social media before plugging in our phones next to our beds and turning out our lights. Breaking this habit and banishing the phone from the bedroom helps to reinforce the idea that the bedroom is for one purpose and that is simply to sleep undisturbed and in peace.
9. "We will not drive if we are drowsy!"
This is imperative to understand for our own safety and the safety of others. It is a much better idea to take a 20-minute power nap and be late to an event than to suffer the potentially fatal consequences of driving while drowsy.
10. "Great pajamas are a great investment."
Soooo this means we have an excuse to buy cute pjs, right? In all seriousness, comfortable and good quality pajamas can only help you to get the restorative and relaxing sleep you need. Definitely a worthwhile investment!
11. "We will choose sleep over busywork."
Busywork can mean many things, but we should think of it as tasks that don’t absolutely need to get done. Making this choice can be hard but is an essential step towards a healthy sleep pattern.
12. "When we walk through the door of our bedroom, we will leave the day – with all of its problems and unfinished business – behind."
We’ve all heard the saying “check your ego at the door” but never “check your day at the door.” It’s hard to let go of the trivialities of the day that may be running through your head as it hits the pillow, but doing this will again reinforce the boundary between your bedroom and the outside world and help to make it a serene space for you to unwind in.
While we won’t be able to break some of these bad habits overnight, striving to live according to these points will help improve our sleep and in doing so, improve our lives. For more information on sleep tips and sleep science, pick up your own copy of Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution here!
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