Getting a full seven to nine hours of sleep as a college student is sometimes hard to believe is achievable. We always have papers due, tests the next day, homework assignments, and more. Fitting sleep into your schedule sometimes feels like it is almost impossible. Sleep, however, is a basic necessity for your life, without sleep all the things you need to do in your daily life will not happen. If you don’t get enough sleep then you won’t have the energy to write a well-written paper, you won’t have the brainpower to do well on your test, your homework assignments will be done wrong, and altogether your life will just be a mess. I hear people say “I’ll sleep when I’m dead”, and the only thing I can think of is telling them “well if you don’t sleep you’ll be dead soon”. That might seem harsh but it is true. You need to sleep to function in your life. These are some daily habits for a better night’s sleep.
Get Outside- How often do you go outside just to be outside with no other responsibilities along with it? Let’s face it the number is low, we are all getting to the point of our lives where we only go outside to fulfill obligations that we made. Usually, when going outside we don’t even want to leave our beds. Going outside and getting that sun exposure helps when it comes to getting a better slumber. You should aim for at least 30 minutes to an hour of sun exposure per day. Studies show the longer you’re outside the better sleep that night you will get.
Avoid Caffeine- Coffee is a HUGE part of most of our college lives. I don’t remember the last class I went through without hearing “I wish I had a coffee right now.” Although coffee helps us stay awake, it also helps keep us up at night even if we don’t know it. People like to say “coffee doesn’t work for me anymore, it doesn’t keep me awake,” but what people don’t know is that the coffee does work, even if you don’t realize it. Caffeine takes a while to wear off and can cause sleeping problems, even if you don’t feel it. For this reason, it’s best to limit coffee consumption for the morning hours and limit it to early afternoon at the latest (10 am-2 pm). Limit coffee to a maximum of four cups per day.
Use Your Bed for Sleep Only!- In college, this is hard to do and trust me we all understand that. You should try to minimize the time that you spend in your bed as much as you can. In college, dorm rooms it’s hard because there aren’t many places to sit, but maybe sit in your desk chair or even get a bean bag chair. When you sit in bed all day and just relax you get used to it as just a hangout place. When you have been in bed all day your body doesn’t realize at night that it is time to go to bed. You should try and limit the time in bed to only night time when you are trying to go to sleep.
Exercise- When it comes to sleep exercise will make it easier for your brain and body to power down at night. When working out your body you keep yourself active, which makes your brain know to keep you energized. When you are active for the whole day and you finally lay down to relax in bed, your body knows that you’re not doing anything and gets you to sleep faster.
Temperature- Most people sleep best when they are in a cool room and are not feeling hot under their blankets. This, however, is not the same for everyone. You need to find the right temperature for yourself and keep it at that temperature every night. When you find what works best for you then you can see that your sleep pattern will get significantly better.
Sound- Everyone is different when it comes to sound as well. Some people like complete quiet while others like to have background noise. Like temperature, you have to find what is right for you and work with it. If you like no sound at all then maybe you need to invest in some earplugs or something that blocks out noise. If you like background noise maybe have some music on or the TV on that is low enough for you to be able to sleep. Maybe you like to have white noise going on in the background. You have to find things that work for you and build on it.
“Power Down”- Do you use your computer or phone until you go to bed? Is your T.V. on all night? Do you leave on your battery-powered lights all night? The light from all of these things can obstruct the production of melatonin. When you obstruct this cycle it means your body isn’t preparing the hormones it needs to get into the sleep cycle. You should try to not use electronic or have lights on at least an hour before you plan on going to sleep. This is a hard thing to do because we as college students don’t know how to put our phones down and disconnect from social media. We all think we have to be connected to our phones 24/7 until the moment we fall asleep. Put your phone down, let it charge on the other side of the room and get it in the morning. I promise you all of your social media will still be there when you wake up and you will have time to read it all when you wake up.
Sleep is one of the most important things for you to do to live a healthy lifestyle. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a night in order to say they had a good night’s sleep. Some adults need only six and others that need as much as ten hours of sleep each day. The key to getting a good night’s sleep is to just get into a routine and find what works best for you. Once you find a routine that works for you stick with it and hopefully it is benefiting you and not hurting you in the long run.