Do you have a tough time staying awake throughout the day? Do you struggle with falling asleep at night or do you routinely procrastinate leading you to pull all-nighters to meet deadlines? If you answered yes to any of those, research shows that these habits are not helpful for academic performance and aren’t healthy. Making good optimal sleep a routine can help you succeed academically, eat less, and help you remain healthy mentally and physically. A good night’s rest is a vital component to our health and well-being, making sleep just as important as a healthy diet and exercise.
Here are some tips that can help you with your sleep:
- Increase bright light exposure during the day – Your body has a natural time-keeping clock called your circadian rhythm and making sure you increase natural sunlight or bright light during the day can help it stay on track. This could improve your daytime energy as well as your sleep quality and duration. Keeping a healthy circadian rhythm can help you stay awake during the day and tell your body when to sleep.
- Reduce phone time in the evening –Just as being exposed to light during the day can help you remain awake, the same effect happens during the evening when going to bed. Exposure to blue light from electronic devices emits large amounts of light, tricking your brain into thinking its daytime. To reduce blue light exposure, turn off your electronic devices an hour before going to bed or download an app that blocks blue light.
- Don’t have caffeinated drinks late in the day – Limit your caffeine consumption especially late in the day.
- Reduce long naps – Taking a nap during the day time confuses your internal clock, and in turn, you may struggle with your sleep, however napping works for some people. If you are going to nap, be consistent and make sure your naps are no more than 20 – 30 minutes.
- Stay consistent with alarms and sleep times – Being consistent with your sleep and waking times can help set your body’s circadian rhythm, aligning itself with sunrise and sunset which can improve your sleep quality.
- Optimize your bedroom environment – Keeping your room quiet, dark, and cool can help you fall asleep. When possible, make sure to remove distractions such as bright lights, noises, and an uncomfortable bed.
In summary, you want to stay on your circadian rhythm’s (internal clock) good side because it’s what’s going to help you get up in the morning and fall asleep at night. For more information about sleep health and how it can affect your academic and personal life, view our Sleeping Well Seminar.