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10 Ways to Get Enough Sleep Tonight

Feeling sleep-deprived? You’re not alone. According to Newsweek, the National Sleep Foundation conducted a poll in 2005 in which they found that Americans sleep an average of 6.9 hours per night—and these numbers don’t even take into account the frantic schedules of college students. In fact, sciencedaily.com reports that college students are among the most sleep-deprived age group in the U.S. 
So how can we drowsy college students reduce the amount of hours spent anxiously laying awake in bed? Here are ten tips that will help you wake up feeling refreshed and ready for that 8AM statistics lecture (sorry, I can’t promise they will make the class more interesting!):

1. Go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day.
I know, this is a tough one. Are you really supposed to leave the bar at 10PM in order to wake up at 7AM on a Saturday morning? Not necessarily. According to the health experts on glamour.com, you can go to bed and wake up one or two hours later than usual on weekends and still maintain your sleeping routine.

2. Have some downtime before bed.
“One must develop some kind of pre-sleep ritual to break the connection between all the stress [of the day] and bedtime,” says Michael J. Breus, PhD, MD on webmd.com. But this doesn’t mean you can spend three hours watching “Keeping Up With the Kardashians” reruns until it’s time for sleep. Rather, you should develop some sort of relaxing routine—such as taking a bubble bath or reading a magazine—that will signal your body that the day is over and it’s time to shut down.

3. Don’t drink caffeine after noon.
This includes coffee and energy drinks such as Red Bull. According to caring.com, caffeine boosts alertness and adrenaline. Studies have shown that even if you drink energy drinks early in the day, you may still have trouble sleeping or falling asleep at night.

4. Avoid watching TV, eating, and having emotional discussions in bed.
It might feel cozy to eat Chinese take-out while watching a chick-flick in bed, but performing activities other than sleep will lead you to associate the bed with those activities and make it difficult to fall asleep.

5. Tell your mom you’ll call her in the morning.
According to glamour.com, a recent study found that people who speak on the phone for a prolonged period of time before bed take longer to reach deep sleep.

6. Skip the late-night mojito.
It might sound like a good idea to have a couple of drinks to unwind at the end of a long day—but although having a drink might be relaxing at first, it will interfere with your sleep later. An article in Reader’s Digest says that alcohol exacerbates insomnia and impairs rapid eye movement (REM) sleep—and it can also dehydrate you, leaving you tired the next day.

7. Avoid eating high-fat, heavy, and spicy foods before bed.
Eating high-fat foods or food that may cause you indigestion will increase your probability of not being able to sleep.

8. Drop the smokes.
According to an article in Allure magazine, a recent study found smokers have higher brain activity during sleep, which makes them more tired in the morning.

9. Eat a smart (carb-filled) snack.
Another reason not to hate on carbs: their high glycemic index may speed up the release of brain chemicals that promote sleep. So next time you find yourself counting sheep, grab a handful of saltine crackers or pretzels to help release that serotonin.

10. Relax!
The worst thing you can do when you can’t fall asleep? Stress about not being able to fall asleep. So instead of checking your alarm clock every thirty seconds, grab a book or magazine and turn the clock to face the wall.

Photo courtesy of healthbyhypnosis.com

Reader’s Digest
Science Daily

Patricia Ball is a senior at Boston University, where she is majoring in English with a minor in French Language and Literature. Born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, Patricia moved with her family to South Florida at the age of fourteen. She began writing as a way of exploring her identity within three different cultures (she is also a self-professed francophile!), and has been reporting, scribbling and blogging ever since. Patricia is also a fashion fanatic and has spent summers in Milan and Paris studying styling and design. She is excited to pursue her passion for writing, culture and fashion as an Editorial Intern for Her Campus and is looking forward to reading what all of you have to say!
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