Do you ever fall asleep in class or at your computer? Do you watch the clock as you struggle to fall asleep? Do you routinely procrastinate and then pull all-nighters to meet your deadlines? Unfortunately research shows that all-nighters and skipping sleep are not helpful for academic performance. Consistently getting an optimum amount of sleep is a way that you can do your best academically.
Sleep is vital to our health and well-being, and is just as important as diet and exercise. Not only does getting enough sleep help you learn a new skill, stay on task or be productive, it may also be a critical factor in your health, weight, and energy level. Although individual needs may vary, adults typically need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night.
Here are some tips for how to get more sleep in your life:
- Carefully examine your sleep environment – Keep your room cool, quiet, and dark. When possible, eliminate distractions such as noises, bright lights, an uncomfortable bed, or a TV or computer in the bedroom. Consider putting your phone on silent.
- Don’t watch the clock – If you are unable to fall asleep in bed, get up and do something relaxing such as reading a book or listening to soft music, and return to bed only when sleepy. Remind yourself that you have been able to get through the day in the past, even when you have not had a good sleep.
- Limit your caffeine intake – Especially prior to bedtime. Caffeine can be found in coffee, sodas, energy drinks, and chocolate.
- Try a light snack before bed – A bowl of whole grain cereal with milk or a piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter are good examples.
- Avoid napping – Napping works for some people but often makes getting to sleep at night more difficult. If you are going to take a nap, be consistent about the time of day and the amount of nap sleep (no more than 20 – 30 minutes).
- Worrying thoughts can disrupt sleep – Keep a note pad and pen next to your bed so you can record any worries and put them out of your mind until the morning.
For more information about sleep health and how it can affect your academic and personal life, view our Sleeping Well Seminar on YouTube.