If you’ve been following my blog for a while now, you probably now that I’m an avid believer in adequate sleep. Actually, no, that’s an understatement — there are no actual words that can describe my intense love for those blessed eight hours. I know lots of people hail coffee as the ultimate way to survive the daily grind that is college but, really, it isn’t. Your best friend is sleep! It’s very unhealthy to go to bed at 3a.m. to wake up at 7a.m. I know that getting at least eight hours of sleep every night is WAY easier said than done (cuz assignments, studying, extracurriculars and maybe a party or two here and there), so I’m going to share with you my tips for sleeping well.
Btw, I’m totally NOT a sleep expert. I’m just a college gal who may or may not have kind of, sort of mastered the art of a good night’s sleep. I hope…
1. Stop squandering your time during the day.
I’m not saying that you should be studying every time you get a moment to catch your breath, but spend some of your free time during the day productively. This way, you’ll have less to do in the evening and at night. Hint: it really helps to start utilizing organizational methods so that you know what assignments should be completed, and can allow yourself enough time to do them. Check out my guide to getting organized for tips on how to do that!
2. Avoid drinking coffee at night.
If you know that coffee will keep you wide awake for the next four hours, avoid it all together. I know, sometimes a caramel macchiatto from Starbucks is just so tempting, especially when you feel like you just need a tiny boost to keep you up for just another two hours. Try drinking iced water to wash away any sluggishness you might be feeling. It really wakes you up without keeping you up half the night. And if you’re really itching to head to SBUX, their Cool Lime Refresher is just so, well, refreshing and won’t have you up until all hours of the morning.
3. Stop forcing yourself to stay up late to do work.
Heavy eyelids, decreased attention span, and long, drawn-out yawns that come every 30 seconds are my cue to close the books and get ready for bed. If I don’t finish assignment, I add it to tomorrow’s to-do list. Besides, trying to study when I’m clearly unfocused will not result in my retaining the material. As long as you’ve managed your time properly, you should be able to hold off on assignments when you’re too tired to do them and still finish them on time.
4. Gradually go to bed a little earlier.
If you normally go to bed around 3a.m., you probably won’t be successful in going to bed at 10p.m. Try to go to bed an hour earlier every couple of days, or even one week at a time to ease you into a new schedule of sleeping earlier. For me, going to bed and falling asleep by 11:30p.m. is normal and comfortable. I’ve even been able to fall asleep as early as 10:30p.m., which is pretty rare for a lot of students!
5. Eliminate anything that could hinder you from falling asleep.
If you could watch videos on Facebook for hours and hours, put your phone away when you go to bed. If your suite mate or roommate is playing music so loudly you can’t hear yourself count sheep, ask them politely to turn it down. You’ve made it this far, don’t let anything distract from your goal of getting some shut-eye!
6. Empty your bladder before bed.
I have been in the situation where I’m too lazy to use the bathroom before I go to bed and then I end up waking up in the middle of the night because I just REALLY have to pee and would probably wet the bed if I just ignored it and went back to sleep. Sometimes, you may not fall back asleep right away when you wake up in the middle of the night, so make sure you do what you can to minimize the likelihood that you’ll wake up in a few short hours.
7. Establish a sleep routine.
Have a set time when you wake up and go to bed every day and night. This might take some practice, but eventually your body will get used to it and you’ll be able to wake up around your desired time without having to really set an alarm. This is also a good way to practice not sleeping in. As hard as it may be to actually lug myself out of bed in the morning (especially during the winter when I don’t want to leave my warm bed!!!) I like getting up early before my classes start so that I can take my time and get ready for class (my eyeliner wings won’t sharpen themselves!) and do any work that I have to do.
8. Don’t go out every single night.
Every night doesn’t have to be a party night. Take comfort in spending some time alone in your room. This is the perfect way for you to relax a little before you hit the hay by giving yourself a mini spa night, or squeezing in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy. If you go out, you might not return until very, very late and you definitely don’t want to turn that into a habit.
9. Make your bed as comfortable as possible.
You won’t get much sleep if there are cookie crumbs all over your sheets because you love snacking in bed. You might also find it hard to sleep with clothing strewn all over your bed. Keep your bed as a place for sleeping only. If you have back problems or just can’t sleep on a hard mattress, invest in a mattress pad/topper to make it much softer. If your head is too low with just one pillow, stack a second one on top of it. These small changes can make a huge difference!
I really hope these tips help you build a more adequate sleep schedule because college is rough and one of your best weapons against the ups and downs of college life is proper sleep!
What are your tips for getting proper sleep in college?