Since I’ve been sick the last few days I’ve looked a little bit like death walking around Glendon. I usually only get sick once or twice a year, so considering I’ve been sick twice already this year I’m not exactly off to a good start. It seems that most people can sleep more when they’re sick, but I’m sitting here staying up until 5 and it’s hit me that sleep is a huge problem for me at university.
I used to go to bed at a pretty set time back home, but living on res makes the idea of a bedtime completely irrelevant. There’s always someone partying somewhere in the building, or people having a kiki in their rooms. Add to that all the assignments you have (or blog posts to write, distractions like TV shows or new music, or late gym workouts) and the time when you’re even considering going to bed is pushed further and further back. If you’re like me, you’ll then take forever to actually fall asleep, as you’ll sit there and re-analyze the entire day. And that’s how you end up sitting up at five in the morning hating that you’ll be up in three hours.
How can you go about trying to keep this from happening? Well, I can’t offer the perfect answers, seeing as I’m unable to get it right myself. I think I can offer a few suggestions to avoid losing too much sleep and lacking any energy during the next day. Keep reading for my Top Five Sleeping Tips.
1) Get Active. When I get at least half an hour of exercise throughout the day I don’t feel as antsy or energetic at night, meaning that it’s easier for me to fall asleep. I’ve been told that calming breathing exercises, stretches or yoga before bed are also helpful to calm and soothe your body, so I’m gonna look at trying some. By putting more rigorous physical exercise before supper you get an energy boost for the earlier parts of your day (generally the more lethargic parts) and burn off more of the food at dinner as well.
2) Control Your Sleeping Space. This one is really hard in residence because you don’t really have control over the temperature of your room. Its easier to fall asleep in a cooler room (and I also prefer colder rooms) so if you’re applying for residence and don’t like heat, try for a room away from C/D House in Wood and head for the higher floors in Hilliard. Keep your window open if need be. Get pillows that are comfortable (it’s always worth spending extra money on throw pillows, I have four) and make sure you bring a comforter to put over the mattresses! Blocking out noise isn’t easy in res, so bring a fan or other quieter noise that will mask any parties in the halls.
3) Don’t Eat (Or Drink) Late. I am a passionate lover of coffee, and there have been many a night where I’ve been out at Starbucks until past 10 and come home to try to sleep. While I think I’ve personally become immune to the effects of late night caffeine, it is a smart thing to watch before bed. Food is also hard – if you have a slice of pizza before you go to bed, your body will be active trying to digest it. This is why it’s helpful to eat carbs at the start of the day: they’re the hardest to digest, and will keep you up later than greens or lean protein will if eaten before bed.
4) Keep A Schedule. If you impose a time that you are turning off all your electronics and heading to bed, you’ll be more successful in actually sticking to a sleep time. It takes up to three months to impose a habit, but you’ll start finding it easier to follow in the first few weeks. The last hour or so before bed should be spent with a book or writing – electronics and music stress your eyes and your brain (multitasking on music lyrics and whatever else you’re trying to do) so get rid of them and reap the sleep awards!
5) Try Not To Be Tempted. One of the problems with trying to keep a sleep schedule is that even one weekend night off of it, say for a party or study sesh, is going to throw off the rest of your week. Life throws curve balls yes, but put your schedule back in order as soon as possible! Limit your late nights to as few as possible every week, as it will make it easier on you!
These are steps I’m trying to take myself, but I have no guarantee that they’ll work 😛 If you have any other strategies that you use to keep your sleep in control, and have energy throughout the day, let me know!