How to Catch Some Z’s

Sleep, perhaps the most beautiful and enticing word. It’s also one of the most vital things our bodies need. Despite how many of us love sleeping, with such hectic, busy schedules we often don’t get in as many Z’s in as our bodies require. According to the American Sleep Association, not getting an adequate amount of sleep can weaken our immune system, impair memory, performance and increase moodiness. Given the common habits and lifestyles of college students, you may not be getting quality sleep or enough sleep in general. These five tips will help you wind down, relax and prepare for optimum sleep.

1. No More Late Night Starbucks Runs

I love my cup of joe as much as the next person, but making sure you don’t over do it with caffeine is an important factor in getting sleep. One or two cups of coffee in the morning most likely won’t affect you. However, stimulants like caffeine may cause issues with sleeping up to ten hours after drinking it, according to helpguide.org.  It’s safe to steer away from caffeinated beverages after 11 am to keep time from being tainted by the caffeine buzz.

2. Maintain a Consistent Schedule

Our bodies are complex, amazing organisms. They even have a natural sleep-wake cycle, technically called a circadian rhythm. Trying your best to be mindful and aware of it is imperative to cultivate a consistent schedule. Stifling a yawn, and forcing your eyelids open to watch one more episode on Netflix is doing yourself no favors. If your body is telling you it’s ready for sleep, then cozy into bed and let the blissful nothingness wash over you. Be sure to wake up around the same time every morning too. Setting an alarm is may be the first task, but making sure you actually get out of bed in the morning is the most important.

3. Sorry, but No Screen Time Before Bed

Understanding how natural and artificial light affects our bodies is key to not only an effective sleep, both our overall health. According to helpguide.org, it’s imperative to expose yourself to bright, natural light during the day. Waking up at a decent time in the morning and taking a step outside to get a breath of fresh air, or eating breakfast next to an open window, or maybe taking your dog for a walk, these are all ways to soak in natural light. On days that it’s nice out, try jogging outside versus the treadmill, or take your break outside. And furthermore, avoid using your phone, or any device that admits blue light at least an hour before bed.

4. Be Sure to Exercise

Just like the rest of these tips, it’s beneficial to develop an exercise routine. Going for a bike ride with friends, or a quick run in the morning are two simple ways to improve sleep. Even just a simple, 10-minute walk can help enhance your sleep quality. However, it’s notable to say that the more strenuous of exercise, the more benefits you’ll receive, according to helpguide.org.

5. Take Time to Unwind

Setting aside at least 15 minutes before you climb into to bed to practice some ways to relax is incredibly helpful to get you into a sleepier state of mind. Running a warm bath with some lavender essential oil, stretching out your muscles after a long day and meditating are all calming ways to soothe and tranquilize your brain before bedtime.

Ultimately though, you know yourself better than anyone else. Figure out habits and practices that work best for you. Evaluate how much sleep your body and mind needs in order to function properly. All of this being said, don’t neglect to get a good night’s rest. Sleep is imperative for a healthy body and mind, and you deserve that.