Sleep is one of the most important aspect of anyone’s life, no matter who you are. As a college student, I’m always on the go – from class, to study groups, to the library, to the gym, and so on. Sometimes I’ll stop to take a breath and realize I haven’t been back to my apartment all day. That being said, when the sun goes down, and 9, 10, 11 PM begins to roll around, I still find myself wired and ready to go – which doesn’t exactly mesh well with my week of three 8 AM’s and a 9:30 AM class. Last year, I was plagued with restless nights of tossing and turning, trying and failing to fall asleep. But this year, I’ve perfected my night schedule – just a little extra time allows me a restful night’s sleep every single night. Here’s my tips for the perfect night’s sleep:
- Cut the caffeine. I know the whole ~college students run on coffee~ lifestyle is super in right now, but honestly it shouldn’t be. Too much caffeine throughout the day can leave you wired when the sun sets, which in turn can lead to a disturbed sleeping schedule. So do yourself a favor and toss the caffeine out after 3 PM – I know it’ll seem like you’re dying for a few days, but you’ll adjust, I promise.
- Stop doing work at least 20 minutes before bed. You may have that HUGE test tomorrow, but if you can spare 20 minutes of relaxation before bed, you’ll fall asleep much better than if your brain goes straight from staring at your notes to the pillow – and a good night’s sleep can do wonders for your mental sharpness throughout the day. A period of time to wind down helps slow you down and gives your mind and body time to chill so your brain isn’t buzzing when you finally need to sleep.
- Put away your phone! This is one that everyone really knows to do but refuses to admit. We’ve all been there – staring at our phones in a dark room when you realize you meant to be asleep an hour ago. But really, it’s probably not a great idea to browse through Instagram right before you hit the hay. I promise you that not much is going to change between the hours of 12 AM and 8 AM – as hard as it sounds, your eyes will thank you for freeing them from the strain of squinting at your tiny screen in the dark. Take the time instead to listen to music, read, or reflect.
- Take a shower. This may be one that only works for me – but let me tell you, it really, really works. 10-15 minutes in a hot shower can help you feel super relaxed, especially if you put some good smelling lotion on afterward (aromatherapy is real, people). Note – this may have the opposite affect for some people and wake them up, but I’m always droopy eyed when I do it. If a full on shower doesn’t work for you, take this time to do some self-care – wash your face, brush your teeth, moisturize, etc.
- Drink something warm. I don’t know what it is about a warm cup of tea before bed, but for me it’s like instant sleep. My personal favorites are (decaffeinated!) chamomile or Sleepytime tea, hot lemon water, and turmeric milk.
- Make a list. I’m definitely a list person, but I’ve found this works for many people. If you have tons of thoughts running through your head about your responsibilities for the coming day, write them down. Make a schedule, to-do list, or simply jot down a few words to get your thoughts down on paper – that way they aren’t bouncing around your head and leaving you tossing and turning when you need rest.
- Stick to your routine and sleep schedule. As college students, it can be hard to stick to a constant sleeping schedule with tests, deadlines, and late weekend nights, but if you can stick to a relativity consistent sleep schedule for most of the week (waking up and going to bed at the same time), your body will begin to adjust and you’ll have a lot more energy throughout the day. If anything, stick to your nightly routine to help wind you down before getting some shut eye.
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