If you’re a college student, you are probably well acquainted with pulling the odd all-nighter or two. While the occasional night without sleep isn’t going to kill you, regularly skimping on shut eye can have detrimental effects including making you less effective at studying. Here’s why sleep is so important and how you can be sure you’re getting enough.
The Importance of Sleep
When you’re sleeping, your body is repairing and recharging so that you are focused and alert during the day. Most college students need seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Without adequate amounts, you run the risk of injury and illness. Being tired also makes it hard to concentrate and learn, which can affect your grades and interfere with your success. Luckily, a few simple changes to your routine can help you get the sleep you need and get everything done.
It’s easy to get into the habit of guzzling coffee or energy drinks with the expectation that you’re going to be up all night. Lay off the caffeine after lunch and chances are you’ll have a much easier time unwinding at night. Too much caffeine can make you jittery, which makes it hard to get your homework done and hard to sleep. To take it easy and you may notice things getting easier.
Don’t Study in Bed
It might be comfortable and convenient, but you’ll come to associate the place with work, which can make it hard it to get to sleep there later. Study at your desk or the library and leave your bed as a place to rest. That way, when you get in bed at the end of the day, you’re able to shut off and get to sleep.
Sleep with Earplugs and an Eye Pillow
Living in a dorm means there’s always something going on. Even when you’re not studying into the wee hours, it can be hard to get to sleep. Invest in noise blocking earplugs and a comfortable eye pillow and you can block out excess light and noise so you can get the rest you need. A white noise machine also works to block distracting sounds and soothes you to sleep.
Keep a Sleep Schedule
Whenever possible, go to bed at the same time and wake up at the same time. This trains your body to be ready for sleep when it’s time and awake and alert when you need to be. It can be tempting to stay up late and sleep in on the weekends, but this can get in the way of good sleep for the rest of the week. Try to stick to your sleep/wake schedule and getting enough rest will be infinitely easier.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Exercise and a healthy diet play a big role in how your body functions so it’s important to fit both into your routine. At the same time, you should be avoiding cigarettes and drugs, which can interfere with health and sleep patterns. Limit alcohol and junk food so that your body is healthy and able to perform optimally. If you are still having trouble sleeping, consider seeing a doctor to help determine what’s going on.
It might seem impossible to be well rested in college, but you can do it. It may take some time and effort to get there, but you will be so glad you did the work. Sleeping enough at night makes it easier to form memories and learn new things, which is vital in college. Starting today, make sleep a priority and everything else will be so much better.