I have trouble sleeping at night. It seems that I’m always staying up to do homework, but whenever I have a day off I can’t fall asleep.
– Not Sleeping
Dear Not Sleeping,
As busy college students, we make time for studying, work, family and friends, which does not leave much time for ourselves and sleep. With everything going on around us, it is important to balance our busy schedules with the right amount of downtime to keep us healthy and able to handle the chaotic schedule of a college student, an employee, girlfriend or boyfriend, sibling, or even a mother or father.
According to USA Today, 81 percent of college students are not getting the proper amount of sleep, which has been found to cause poor judgment and memory, worsening in health and mood and lower GPA and test scores.
Now that spring break is over and the countdown to finals week and summer break begins, here are a few tips for better rest and hopefully a stress free end to the semester.
- REM routine
Make sure you go to bed at the same time every night, even on the weekends. It may sound childish to have a bedtime again, but getting in a routine will eliminate sleepless nights in no time.
- Work it out
Allow time for exercise each day. Now that the weather is warming up this will be much easier. You can take a walk on your break, attend a yoga class on campus, hit the gym after class, or run the river walk before sundown.
- Nutrition facts
Maintaining a nutritious diet is essential to feeling good and getting proper sleep.
Planning meals and packing your lunch will help you stay on track. Drink plenty of water and eat small meals often. Avoid eating late at night before bed.
- Disconnect to dream
Dedicate your bedroom for sleep only. This may be more difficult for students living on campus, but try to study in the library, at a nearby café, or a recreational room in housing.
Make sure you turn off your phone, computer and TV when you are ready for bed. Remember that your sleep and mental health are more important than your ex’s new girlfriend’s selfie from 17 weeks ago.
- Unwind to a carefree state of mind
With everything going on in our lives we forget to make time for reflection until we are lying in bed, wide awake, overthinking and going over the details of our day. Try to reflect and unwind before you get into bed. Breathing exercises, meditation and a hot bath are a perfect way to let go of our thoughts and relax. Mint and lavender are both great for calming down our bodies and minds and help us to relax.
All in all, time is of the essence. The key to a better night of sleep lies in our ability to make time for it. Keeping yourself healthy and active, breaking backlight habits at bedtime, and not allowing studies and daily stresses to enter the bedroom will have you feeling relaxed, rested and ready to take on the day.