Living in a residence hall, pulling all-nighters studying for exams, socializing, watching television, or going on social media are just some of the many factors that make maintaining a regular sleep schedule difficult for college students. In fact, college students may be the most sleep-deprived group. One study reported that 70% percent of college students get less than eight hours of sleep nightly during the school week. Getting enough sleep is vital to maximizing memory and performance on exams, decreasing chances of getting sick, and maintaining physical and mental well being.
Tips for Improving Sleep
- Develop a Routine. Wake up the same time every morning, even on the weekends. Train your body to sleep at night be going to bed at the same day each night.
- Avoid worrying in bed. Try to deal with worries before bed. Write out concerns, try to consider possible solutions.
- Wind down. Take some time to “wind down” before going to bed. Get away from the computer, turn off the TV and the cell phone, and relax quietly for 15 to 30 minutes.
- Limit naps. If you take a nap, then keep it brief. Nap for 20-30 minutes and before 4 p.m.
- Bed for Sleep Only. Try spending time in bed for sleeping and get up for everything else. People who spend time in bed for things other than sleep are training their bodies not to associate the bed with sleep.
- Avoid or limit caffeine and alcohol, especially in the evening.
- Comfortable sleeping environment. Try to get your room as comfortable as possible – noise, light, excessive heat or cold can all prevent sleep.
- Shut off all electronics before bed. Limit or stop using electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed.
- Avoid big meals. If you need to eat before bed, be sure to keep it light.
What To Do If You Can't Fall Asleep
- If you cannot fall asleep after 20 minutes, don’t force it. Get out of bed and do a relaxing activity for about 30 minutes (listening to quiet music, read, do a relaxation exercise). No TV or cell phone!
- Try and reduce worrying and stressing out in bed. If worries and anxiety are preventing you from sleeping, get up and write down what you're thinking in a journal.
- If you cannot sleep, don't watch the clock and try not to worry. Accept that it is not going how you would have liked and plan to wake up at the normal time and have a normal day. You may be tired, but that will help you get better sleep the next night.
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