10 Things "The Sleep Revolution" Taught Us

Arianna Huffington, Editor-in-Chief and co-founder of The Huffington Post, has woken us up about the effects of sleep in our lives with her new book, “The Sleep Revolution.” As college students, we are either trying to catch some Z’s or avoiding them so we can keep up our busy lifestyle. It’s time we realize how important sleep actually is to our success.

1. 7-9 hours of sleep every night is essential

This isn’t a random number. The time we spend sleeping is time our bodies repair and restore themselves. When we take away from that time, we rob ourselves of a healthier and happier us. There’s a reason we get grumpy if we don’t get our sleep.

And those of you who say you are “one of those people” who can survive on only a few hours of sleep with no negative consequences are very wrong. This percent of the population known as"short sleepers" comprise less than 1 percent of the population.

2. You DO have enough time to sleep

For those who would argue that they simply don’t have the time to sleep, there may need to be some prioritizing that needs to happen. Sleep should be somewhere at the top of that list, not at the bottom to be saved only if we accomplish everything. Less than the recommended time for sleeping will have negative benefits for the sleep deprived, and everyone around them too.

If you can’t get all the Z’s you need at night, naps are effective ways to give yourself a mid-day boost.

3. Exhaustion is not a badge of honor

 

When your classmates brag about how long they’ve been awake studying, that’s not something they should be proud of. Sleep deprivation can have the same effects as being under the influence. We lose our ability to make thoughtful decisions or reason things out logically. It’s more beneficial to get some sleep before your exam than spend time cramming the night before.

4. Sleeping pills are a no go

We are strong independent women and we don’t need sleeping pills to help us go to sleep! Not only can sleeping pills become a crutch for us, they also don’t give us the same quality of sleep we would get naturally and without them. There are other ways to get your snooze on besides medication.

5. Take away the technology

30 minutes before you want to go to sleep, put away your phone and any other devices. Huffington recommends moving them out of the room entirely, but for college students that isn’t always a possibility in a dorm room. Instead, choose a place for your phone to recharge that is away from your bed, and go recharge your own batteries.

6. Lack of sleep is just plain bad for you

Those who get less sleep than they need consistently have a higher likelihood of having a stroke or incurring diabetes. Individuals who don’t get good sleep are more likely to catch a cold because of a weakened immune system.

7. Don’t drink caffeine after 2 p.m.

Getting your caffeine fix in the afternoon will throw off your sleep schedule. If you still want to stop by the coffee shop, grab a tea or something without caffeine. You’ll thank yourself later when you can slip off to sleep in no time.

8.  Dreams are important

Huffington pulls from some of the greatest minds in the sleep science world to tell us that dreams help us dig deeper into our lives and can reveal a lot to us. Dreams allow us to process how our day went and sort out the most importnant details. Studies cited in the book point to a posative correlation in dreaming about exams and better scores on those exams. So next time you dream about taking a test in class, you might just be better off for it.

9. Don’t study on your bed

The bed should be a place we associate with sleep (along with other things). When you study and work and do non-sleep things on your bed, it makes it harder for your brain to know to go to sleep when you lay down there for some shut-eye. Instead, use your desk, a study space or the library.

10. Exercising can help your sleep patterns

Think you can’t get a good night’s sleep and exercise? They aren’t mutually exclusive. If you can get at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week, you could see your sleep habits improve.

You can buy Arianna Huffington’s book here for the full scoop on how to revolutionize your life through sleep.

 

 

Photo Credit Abigail Megginson