How to Get Enough Sleep in College

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Remember how I claimed not to know a lot of things? And all those times I mentioned how lost I was? Well, ignore that, because now we’re talking about something I actually know quite a bit about.

DISCLAIMER: I DO NOT DRINK COFFEE. I do not require caffeine to survive. I’m so sorry if this makes you sad. I can’t help you. Maybe stop drinking it; that’s one of my tips, anyways.

Hitting “pay” on those tuition fees means a lot of things, some exciting, some not so exciting. Something not so exciting that comes with the college experience is the amount of sleep you can expect to get on a daily basis: not much. Between hard classes, tons of homework, nightly excursions, and maybe not the best food choices, it’s almost impossible to get enough sleep each night. Hopefully this post will help you make some lifestyle changes that can help you achieve the goal of sleeping more, because ultimately it will do wonders for your attention span and GPA.

The first step to take is to accept that you will never sleep as much as you would like to. Use those weekends at home to sleep! College is not the place to shut your eyes for 12 hours and eat breakfast at 2 p.m. Of course, we’re all guilty of doing that once in a while, and I can’t say I didn’t do that often freshman year. In general, oversleeping like that makes you feel worse and more lethargic. So, make it a point to get up early on weekends, a.k.a. definitely before 10 a.m. This gives you time to run errands, do work, nap, do work, eat, go out, sleep, and repeat. Likewise, during the week, set a limit for yourself on how long you can sleep. I like to get up between 8 a.m. and 9 a.m.; it works for my classes, and I can either get up on the earlier side or late side if necessary. Setting windows rather than a specific time allows me a slower, more relaxing morning and feels less pressured.

Also, try to get the most sleep when it’s dark out. Like I said before, naps should definitely be a part of your routine if necessary, but if you take a five hour nap in the middle of the day, it will be difficult to fall asleep later, and it will mess up the following day completely. Also, our bodies are programmed to sleep when it’s dark out; it’s a routine we’ve been following for well over a decade. That being said: do not pull all- nighters. Just don’t. Get your shit done in advance; it’s not as hard as it sounds. Choosing to pull an all-nighter usually means you made poor sleep choices in the past few days.

Now that we’ve got our general outline for a routine, now we will address the common problems that come with maintaining a routine in college. One of these, especially for me, is simply not being able to sleep. I find myself laying down to sleep and not being able to, whether it be due to excessive screen time typing out a paper or overthinking. I have a few solutions for this issue.

First, never underestimate the power of music. I find that ambient music like Flume, King Krule, Frank Ocean, and artists that have more ~chill vibes~ help me go to sleep more than nature or ocean sounds. Listening to this music at the tail end of my homework for the night or while tidying up my room puts me in a mindset more geared for sleep. That being said, never underestimate the power of ASMR. I know a lot of people think it’s weird, and it definitely really is, but that shit is POWERFUL. I have been using it since junior year and a good video can knock me out in 5-10 minutes.

I also like trying to associate certain actions with going to sleep. For example, make tea, whip up a bowl of oatmeal, or write in a journal every night before bed, or at least on nights you have trouble sleeping. You may find that all you needed was a warm feeling in your throat or a mind dump to put you to sleep. Plus, these actions make you feel more cozy and that in general can put you to sleep. Put on mood lighting, like a small lamp or Christmas lights, and pick something to do. Even smoking weed sometimes does the trick. Find your local freshman boy and coerce him to go outside and give him $3 for a few hits. Instant sleep.

Going off of that idea, taking melatonin at night also helps. It regulates your sleep cycle and acts as a placebo, like less intense NyQuil. NyQuil should only be used as a last resort and only if you’re sick. One thing to stay away from if you have trouble sleeping is coffee. Coffee can be really bad for some people depending on your chemical makeup and I always find myself sleeping horribly if I have coffee.

If you think regulating your sleep isn’t the problem, excessive napping is, I’ve been there. The key to prevent excessive napping is simple: stop going back to your dorm during the day. Maybe if you’re older or wiser or something, you’re laughing at this tip, but freshmen especially do not follow this rule. I overhear freshman girls getting stressed out at their napping habits but it’s just because they don’t stay on campus and get work done! It’s so easy. If you’re prone to sleeping in public places, wear a semi-uncomfortable outfit, like jeans. I never fall asleep in jeans.

If you absolutely do need to nap, do not nap until all your classes are done. I am 100% more likely to skip a class if I wake up groggy 30 minutes before. Waking up with that feeling is HORRIBLE and not conducive to a learning environment. One of my professors asked me if I was drunk after coming to class post-nap. You are not your best self. Also, I feel like I’m the only one that needs this tip, but you need to remember that extra-curriculars are optional, and if you NEED sleep, choose not to go to them and take a nap or do work then. I always feel really bad about this but in the grand scheme of things it will not matter.

Lastly, you might be having the problem where you’re too hyped up or preoccupied at night and can’t sleep. I can say I’ve experienced this, and it’s almost more frustrating than any other sleeping problem. Two things that help: eating healthy dinners and going to the gym. It’s no secret that we all feel better when we eat healthy, so this will clear your mind and make you feel good about yourself. If you can’t force yourself to eat healthy, find some vegans and get dinner with them. They’ll pressure you into getting a black bean wrap or something. Also, going to the gym tires you out, so this likens your chance of going to bed a little early. I find sleep comes faster when I do both of these things.

If you get anything out of this post, please remember that if you are burnt out, just sleep. If you’re going through depression or any emotional issue, work on your sleep. It doesn’t matter that you’re behind on work; work on your mental health foremost. Get what you need done for the following day and lights out. Also PLEASE make sure you’re doing at least one fun thing a day. For me, this means seeing a friend, watching Youtube or Netflix, writing, making a video, painting, etc. Even if you’re super busy, make time for yourself. It’ll make so much of a positive difference.

I hope all of these tips helped, and shout out to Sophie for requesting this post. Sleep tight, ladies.

Some of my favorite Spotify playlists for sleep:

~Chill 420 vibes~

Nostalgic end-of-summer vibes

Doing work and concentrating but also getting ready 4 bed vibes

Fall night in Vermont vibes

Some of my favorite ASMR channels:

Gentle Whispering

ASMR Requests

Springbok ASMR

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