Ask Katie Peer Educators will host ‘Got Sleep?’ on Dec. 8 in the Rauenhorst/Morrison Seminar Room from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m., providing information on healthy sleep, as well as offering hot tea and lavender oil pillow spray.
Promoting Healthy Sleep
There is no surprise that college students are one of the most sleep deprived groups around. It’s difficult to find time to sleep in college when you’re trying to balance school, work, and friends. College students need on average at least seven to nine hours of sleep a night.
There are many things that can interfere with a good night’s sleep, but lack of sleep can wear you out and affect your judgement, mood, and ability to learn. Healthy sleep is crucial to a higher quality of life and can be improved through good ‘sleep hygiene’. The following information comes from the National Sleep Foundation and Harvard Medical School and contains information about the importance of sleep as well as helpful advice on how to practice healthy ‘sleep hygiene’.
How Does Sleep Affect Us?
No one quite knows why our bodies need sleep and it is something that scientists continue to study. Sleep has been shown to have a large impact on our ability to remember information and learn. Without sleep it’s difficult to focus on things going on in class. Sleep also plays a role in consolidation of memory, meaning that it takes the information that you have learned and stores it in your brain for long term use. This is why cramming before a test tends to have less than desirable outcomes for most people. If you are not getting enough sleep, this may be having a negative impact on your GPA.
Sleep deprivation can also negatively affect one’s mood which can have negative effects on one’s relationships with others. People that get very little sleep tend to have more mental and physical health issues as well. Poor sleep is also associated with lower life expectancy. Staying up late once and awhile is fine but it’s good to have a plan in place for long-term healthy sleep so that you can live a longer and healthier life.
Tips for Healthy Sleep
- Make a sleep schedule and stick to it
- It’s important to set a bedtime for yourself and follow it everyday- this includes weekends
- This is helpful when regulating your body’s clock
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual
- This helps you separate your sleep time from day time activities
- It helps relax your mind from everything that has gone on during the day
- Meditation may help you clear your mind before going to bed
- Avoid naps
- If you have trouble falling asleep at night, it is best to avoid naps during the day
- Check out your mattress and pillow
- Most mattresses should not be used for more than nine to ten years
- Make sure your pillow is comfortable as well
- Control your lighting
- Avoid bright lights in the evening
- Make sure you are exposed to sunlight in the morning; this helps keep your circadian rhythm working
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, caffeine and heavy meals at night
- These can all play a part in disrupting sleep
- That cup of coffee may give you an energy boost to power through a study session, but it will also prevent you from sleeping
- Big meals can cause indigestion and make it difficult to sleep. If you are hungry before bed, eat a light snack
- Exercise daily
- This helps to get any extra energy out and relieves stress, allowing you to sleep easier
- Evaluate your room
- Your room should be free of excessive noise and light. This can be done with blackout curtains, ear plugs, eye shades, ‘white noise’ machines and humidifiers
- Get rid of distractions
- Leave time to decompress
- You need to let you body shift into sleep mode
- Spend the hour before sleep doing calming activities, such as reading
- Avoid any screens (phones, computers and other electronics) before falling asleep. It is probably best to read a paper book rather than a Kindle or Nook
- If you can’t sleep, go into another room until you feel tired
- Keep work and school materials away from your sleeping environment
- Only associate your bed with sleeping
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