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Healthy Habits for Quality Sleep

Tips for avoiding ‘sleep thieves’

Being a college student is serious business. But so is your sleep! You may be sleep-deprived if you:

  • Rely on the snooze button
  • Have a difficult time getting out of bed in the morning
  • Feel sluggish in the afternoon
  • Fall asleep in lectures or meetings
  • Need to nap to get through the day
  • Feel like you need extra sleep on the weekends
  • Fall asleep within five minutes of going to bed

Below are healthy tips to getting quality snooze time and how to achieve them. Here’s to feeling less fatigued and more energetic through your studies!

Plan out your bedtime

Make sleep a priority like any other daily activity. This will lead to keeping your body on a better sleep schedule.

Create a sleep schedule to follow daily. By following a sleep schedule on both the weekends and weekdays, your body’s biological clock is slowly being trained to normally wake at certain times every day and sleep throughout the night.

Have a relaxing ritual before bed for an hour. By performing the same activity every night before bed away from bright lights will help the body differentiate between excitement and stressful activities and when to fall asleep.

Try sleeping in multiples of 90 minutes to coincide with deep sleep cycles. For example, if you go to bed at 11:00 p.m., set your alarm for 6:30 a.m. (a total of 7.5 hours of sleep) instead of 7:00 or 7:30. You’ll feel more awake at 6:30 than with the extra 30 to 60 minutes of sleep because you’re getting up at the end of a sleep cycle when the body and brain are closest to being conscious.

Tips to sleep better

Exercise daily. By exercising every day, your body is tired and ready to rest at the end of the day. For the best results try to exercise 5 to 6 hours before sleeping.

Make your room conducive to sleeping. Keep your room at the proper temperature (60-67 degrees F) and free of noises and distractions that would interrupt sleep.

Being uncomfortable can cause restless nights so invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows. Check both the mattress and pillows for allergens.

Things to avoid to sleep better

Avoid alcohol, caffeine and cigarettes prior to bed. These are known as sleep thieves, because they make it hard for the you to get into deeper stages of sleep, and you’ll only undergo light sleep cycle.

Avoid meals that are big or that may cause an upset stomach prior to bed. If dealing with indigestion from spicy food or a big meal it is often hard to sleep. Try eating 2 to 3 hours prior to bed, or a light snack 45 minutes before bed.

If you can’t fall back asleep at night

If you are unable to sleep, leave your bedroom and do something relaxing until tired. Lying in bed unable to sleep can increase your anxiety over not being able to sleep. Use the bed only for sleep to strengthen the association between bed and sleep.

Don’t stare at the clock, This will only increase the stress of not being able to fall asleep.

Keep the lighting low. If you get up, keep the lights low. Alertness is directly correlated with light, so by keeping the light dim, you’re more likely to be relaxed.

Perform some relaxation exercises

Some relaxation techniques are:

  • Deep breathing exercises – breathing slowly mimics how you breathe while sleeping
  • Meditation – promotes and clears the mind
  • Visualization – relieves stress by envisioning yourself in a peaceful environment
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