Sleep is a crucial biological function, although not prioritized by most college students. According to the national sleep foundation, young adults require between seven to eight hours of uninterrupted slumber each night. However, more than 30% of college students are not getting the sleep they need, with severe health and safety implications. The following evidence-based guidelines can help you create and sustain better sleep patterns.
Why Is Sleep Important for College Students
Quality sleep is one of the most critical predictors of student success and is often ignored. It is common to find students skipping sleep to work on assignments, watch movies, or work. Most people assume that they can function well without getting enough sleep. The truth is that lack of sleep diminishes focus and productivity and exposes students to numerous health risks.
According to recent studies, sleep-deprived students tend to report diminished academic performance compared to those who practice healthy sleep hygiene. In other words, sleep deprivation affects your efficiency and productivity. It also makes it hard to consolidate memories and remember important concepts.
Tips for Healthy Sleep Hygiene
It is not a secret that most college students don’t get the sleep they need to succeed. According to a recent survey, 25% of students indicated lack of sleep as a significant impediment to their academic performance. However, you don’t need to be a part of such negative statistics. Here are ways to improve your sleep habits.
- Eat Healthily and Avoid Nicotine, Caffeine, and Alcohol Close to Bedtime
Evidence shows that stimulants are linked to increased difficulty falling asleep, longer latency to sleep onset, and shorter sleep duration. Stimulants are those substances that impact your body and central nervous system, making you more alert and causing sleep problems.
These stimulants contrast with sedatives that reduce brain activity and make people sleepy. Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants that alert the human brain and make it hard to fall asleep. To ensure you get quality sleep, avoid taking caffeinated drinks, nicotine, or alcohol close to bedtime.
Also, it would be best to watch what you eat as some foods can interfere with your sleep cycle. For example, according to researchers, eating a diet high in sugar and saturated fats can disrupt sleep. On the other hand, eating more fiber, plants, and foods high in unsaturated fats can promote sound sleep.
- Turn Off Screens and Devices Before Bedtime
One of the most important ways to improve the quality of your sleep is by turning off your phone sometime before retiring to bed. The blue light emanating from digital devices’ screens affects your sleep quality. Experts recommend turning off your screens for at least one hour before bed.
The light prolongs the duration it takes you to fall asleep. So, if you have made it a habit to scroll through your social media pages while lying on the bed at night, you may need to rethink your strategies. Don’t stay up late slumped in front of the computer trying to complete a last-minute assignment. Instead, order an assignment help from a reliable essay service online.
- Schedule Follow a Bedtime and Wake-Up Time
One of the most important habits you can develop for sleep is having a consistent bedtime and wake-up time. Going to bed around the same time each night trains your brain to feel sleepy and programs your circadian rhythm.
Avoid the temptation to sleep in during holidays and weekends. By sleeping later than we are used to during weekends, we push our internal clocks, making it hard to readjust when the average weekday begins. So, forget that old notion that weekends are created for staying late and sleeping in.
Another important tip is to avoid taking many naps during the day. If you feel tired and need to nap, ensure you don’t sleep for longer than 20 minutes. Napping frequently during the day reduces the urge to sleep at night.
- Create a Sleep Ritual
Students can also improve the quality of their sleep by having a pre-sleep ritual. It means doing certain things in a given order as bedtime approaches. The activities could include brushing your teeth, taking a shower, dimming the lights, reading a book, meditating, or performing any activity you consider calming. Also, make sure to dedicate your bed to only sleep-related activities. Finally, it means avoiding doing homework or studying on your bed.
This article highlights a few sleep hygiene tips for college students. Avoid caffeine before bedtime and keep your sleeping area warm and comfortable. Most importantly, turn off screens and use a routine to prepare yourself for bed.