Getting the proper amount of shuteye in college is important not just for your sanity, but for your health. Not to mention your grades! But if you’re too stressed, or its too loud in your dorm, and you wake up every morning feeling more tired than when you went to bed, then check out these tips to make sleeping a little easier:
1. Upgrade your mattress
College dorms aren’t known for the quality of their furniture, so it might be time to score a quality mattress pad and a few quality pillows. It’ll only feel like wasted money until you lay down your head, at which point you’ll see the light: a comfortable night’s sleep is priceless.
2. Use white noise to block out other sounds
College campuses are, by their nature, very loud places. But that doesn’t mean you have to lie awake all night listening to that racket. Put an oscillating fan or a white noise machine by your bed to block out the sound. There are also several white noise apps you can download on your phone.
3. Don’t nap during the day
Napping during the day can wreck your sleep schedule, so do your best to avoid it—especially longer naps. Anything longer than 20 minutes could result in “sleep inertia,” or a period of grogginess. Not only will that make it harder to be productive for the rest of the day, it could negatively affect your subsequent attempt to fall asleep.
There are a host of benefits to staying in shape, and better sleep is one of them. A tired body craves sleep, obviously. But exercise also releases endorphins and can help reduce stress. If that doesn’t help you sleep, then nothing will.
5. Don’t habitually stay up late
While cramming for an exam is an inevitable part of the college experience, we don’t recommend making all-nighters a habit. The danger is that your body will become accustomed to the sleep schedule, and you’ll have a hard time trying to sleep (or even waking up!) at an earlier hour.
6. Set a positive pattern
The most important part of sleeping well is setting a pattern. (One that doesn’t include all-nighters.) It’s a medically proven way to improve your sleep. Whatever you decide—not only when to sleep, but for how long—try to stick to the schedule. The trials and rigors of college life may prevent you from setting that schedule in stone, but the more often you go to bed at the same time, the easier sleeping will be.
7. Put away your electronics
Put your phone on silent, shut off your computer, and turn off your TV. Active and engaging electronics like tablets, laptops, smart phones, and televisions stimulate your mind and distract you from sleeping. Settle your mind before bed by reading a book (for pleasure), knitting, or meditation.