Want to do better in college? Would you like to feel better about yourself? How about living longer and being more creative? Of course, all of these are things college students, or anyone, are interested in. But what do they all have in common?
A good night’s sleep, that’s what. Achieving all those things can be easier with some life hacks for how to sleep better.
The many benefits of shut-eye
Your mom may not be there every night to force you into going to bed, but her years of nagging have some hard science to back them up. Robin Blunck’s June 10, 2014, post “Sleep Benefits Memory” on Carrington College’s website offered some facts as to why college students need to sleep better.
- A sleep deficit, where you don’t get enough sleep over time, builds up and results in sub-optimal performance, according to a Stanford University study of college football players.
- A study published in Sleep Journal indicated that a regular, healthy amount of sleep is linked to better academic performance, increasing both alertness and reaction time.
- Finally, Blunck wrote, “Emotionally, studies have demonstrated that a healthy amount of sleep helps reduce stress and helps prevent clinical depression. One such study found that insomnia can be a useful marker in determining depression.”
That being said, Blunck does note that excessive sleep—i.e., more than 10 hours a night on a regular basis—can have its own negative effects and may be an indication of emotional distress.
How to sleep better
Not only does lack of sleep affect your mental and emotional well being, but it can also lead to physical issues, such as increasing your risk of catching a cold or the flu, by stressing your immune system. So what are some life hacks to help college students develop a good sleep routine? Diana Rodriguez offered “10 Tips for Better Sleep at College” for everydayhealth.com on March 17, 2010. Here are some of her suggestions for how to sleep better in college:
- Cut back on caffeine during the day, especially at night.
- Wake up at about the same time on days you don’t have class, as those you do.
- Don’t work on your computer or study in your bed.
- Use earplugs and a sleep mask to block out light or noise from your roommate.
- Exercise earlier in the day, not right before bed.
Life hacks to handle sleep issues
What if you are following all the rules for how to sleep better in college, but life, your roommate or something else is still getting in the way? “How to Sleep Well in College — Even With Night Owl Roommates” on U.S. News.com’s health site by Laura McMullen on July 31, 2014, provided some suggestions on how to handle situations that are impacting your nighttime routine.
- Roommate issues—If your roommate’s nighttime activities are interfering with your sleep routine, it’s important to speak up. Consider making a roommate pact to discuss if something is bothering you within 24 to 48 hours of the incident.
- Nap time—A nap can be beneficial, but only if done wisely. McMullen wrote, “While everyone’s sweet spot is different, as a general guideline, the Mayo Clinic suggests shooting for midafternoon naps of about 10 to 30 minutes long.”
- Setting limits—College students are in charge of themselves; no mom or dad calling the shots. And that is great, until you overextend yourself with classes and extracurriculars and fun. So know when to say enough, and when you have to make the tough call to ditch certain activities.
What are your tricks for getting some shut-eye? Let us know in the comments.