Does Sleep Really Benefit Your Mental Health?

 

 You did it! You made it to the midpoint and you’ve been up working through some late nights and early mornings to keep those grades right. There’s only one problem— your sleep schedule is way off. If you believe that getting a good night’s rest isn’t as important as an A+, but I encourage you to reconsider.

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 Sleep is essential to mental health. In a study done by Harvard Medical School, sleep deprivation was proven to affect your psychological state and mental health, and not at all in a positive way. Lack of sleep is linked to increased irrational and emotional behavior. 6 to 8 hours of sleep is linked to higher energy levels and less irrationality. Here are some tips you can incorporate into your everyday routine for your mind and body to get the sleep it needs.

 

1.Set a sleep alarm

 First thing’s first— set a sleep alarm! Yes, you read it right. It might sound backward to set an alarm that tells you to go to sleep at night rather than wake up in the morning, but it works! When that alarm goes off, drop everything you're doing and get ready for bed.

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2. Ditch the phone!

The blue light emitted from your smartphone has a negative effect on your sleep schedule because of its restraint on your body’s natural production of melatonin, the hormone that controls the sleep cycle. To prevent this, make sure at least an hour before you’re scheduled to get ready for bed, put your phone on ‘do not disturb’. You could even schedule your phone to do this automatically in your settings. For example, I set my phone to automatically go on ‘do not disturb’ at 11 p.m. and stay that way until 6:30 am, just in time for my wake-up alarm. Let me tell you— the best sleep of my life!

 

3. Turn off the TV

Last, but definitely not least— turn off that TV! It might seem like falling asleep without your favorite rerun of The Office playing in the background is hard to do, but I guarantee that dozing off in a dark room will give you a better outcome. Too much light during or before bedtime prevents you from getting a great night’s sleep. If you have to build up to that, take your time. When you finally start turning off the TV and sleeping in the dark, that sleep will be the best yet!

 

(Gif courtesy of Giphy)

 

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying, “sleep when you’re dead.” As a college student, it’s easy to get caught up in this method of thinking, but I quickly realized that it makes more sense to sleep when you’re alive. Think about it! Are we really going to act like waking up after a night of great sleep isn’t the best feeling in the world?