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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Toast Can Never Be Bread Again

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This weekend was so strange in a wonderful way. If a little over a month ago I was feeling the seasons change from winter to fake spring, I felt the seasons change from winter to real spring this weekend. It snowed one (hopefully) last time Friday night, the sleet coming down in large swaths, at first melting as soon as it hit pavement and dry grass but eventually coalesced and stuck overnight. Saturday morning it turned into real snow and continued to fall over Burlington; the white sky encompassed absolutely everything and turned windows on Battery Street into stark alabaster canvases.

My favorite days are the ones where I explore Burlington by myself, picking the music I want to listen to, which bus seat I want to occupy, and what cafe I want to do work in. I walked around Church Street, College Street, and looked into most stores I have never entered before. I went to Burlington City Arts, I was the only one in the whole museum, and watched people walk through city park. I did work at a new cafe, August First, and drew in my journal until my hands hurt.

I agreed to have about ten members of Champlain College Class of 2021 in my common room Saturday night. I got them weed, they smoked, we talked. I forgot that people are excited about Burlington. I see it in the faces of the tourists and the way I feel when I look at sunsets, but Burlington lost next to all of its glimmer that it possessed when I visited here almost two years ago. They all inspired me to make more of a conscious effort to notice the excitement here, because it’s there, and we’ve all just gotten used to it, and that’s sad.

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I don’t know what it is, but something clicked in me after spring break. I felt it as I was laying in my bed, watching i-D videos about Korean beauty standards and slowly falling into a deep sleep. The sunlight reflected off of the snow coating the rooftops of South 1 and streamed through my window, illuminating the sounds of birds chirping. For a second, I felt like I was home. Not in the college-is-my-home-fuck-my-hometown way, but I started to blur the lines between Clinton and Burlington for a second, in sleep stasis. It was the same kind of settled feeling I felt in the car on the way to Walmart today when Emily and I had the windows down and Dug My Heart was playing. I didn’t feel inclined to lean my knees against the center console and tense up. I didn’t feel inclined to stay awake for fear of inconveniencing my roommates when they returned from the gym. I fell asleep peacefully, not dreaming at all, settled.

 

Fake Spring: Sunrises

One of the things I live for in this life is fake spring. I swear, this is a real thing. When it hits late February, usually like 22nd through 24th-ish, there’s random 50 degree weather that comes out of nowhere and forces you to wear a lighter coat and step over puddles. If you think I’m lying, watch the end of this video I made last year and tell me that history isn’t repeating itself.

I know fake spring is just a product of global warming, and it ends as soon as March hits, but I love reveling in it.

Fake spring brings a lot of beautiful sunrises. Since my roommate doesn’t sleep in my room anymore (don’t ask), I perpetually keep the window blinds open, and every morning around 6:40 or so I wake up for just a few minutes to watch the mountains turn orange and pink. Of course, I go right back to sleep, but it’s so cute that the sun wakes me up like that to have that moment.

That used to happen to me when I lived in my house on the beach. I would wake up to one of the most beautiful songs in the entire world, Ms by alt-j, which soon became my regular alarm, and I would eat a slow breakfast and write in my journal in front of the waves because the sunrise came through my window with such force that I could not go back to sleep; my room was too orange. It is one of my favorite memories ever and always makes me feel so calm.

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I actually found a piece of writing from sometime during senior year about those Fake Spring sunrises, something I have never shown anyone (and listen to this while reading)…

I never thought months later at 5:45 AM I would be missing my old routine.

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OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOhhhhh….. My eyes open. My room is soft gold. The deep brown wood of the skylight and closet window is the color of my hair. My hair is long, I am wearing a bleach-printed thin white t-shirt, my track bag is packed in the corner. It could be the morning of my AP testing, the morning of prom, or the morning of my birthday, but regardless, pink and gold and orange light fills the room with such intensity that I am forced to get up.

Blueandwhitegunmadefromle-e-e-gooooo

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooooooooOOOOOh….. I turn over in my light pink comforter and my bed squeaks. I smell the smell that permeates the house that I cannot describe. It’s clean and furniture-y and sandy. I’ll know it if I go back. It’s something in the carpets. I feel the empty stomach and chapped lips of an early morning, the weight of the world holding me in bed. It’s how I felt the morning of April 30th, and how I feel now.

Allthevowelsvowtoholdyourname…. I am thinking about the oatmeal concoction coming to me. I roll out of bed and go to the blueberry bowls, checking every window along the way for signs of the sunrise. The sunrise follows me down the captain’s stairs, and floods my path towards the kitchen. I stop and turn and run to the backyard, the backyard is ocean number thirty one.

Keepyourestateeeeeeeeee….. clean of me.

The feeling that I get when I open the door is like the feeling of the bells.

I’ve pillowed you so many times this week…. The sky is a shocked pink, the pink of lox sold to top bagels at Cohen’s and strawberry lollipops. The moon still looms up ahead and the ocean is beginning to breathe as we head throughout spring to its golden season. Pink, pink, pink, magenta, pearly pink with orange creamsicle. A little purple, like a periwinkle.

Closeeyes,open,closeagain,forgetand fall asleeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeep.

The air is a wet cold punctuated with warm salt, coating my face in a residue that will hang throughout the day like laundry on the line that never quite dries. The hot and cold gusts fuse together uncomfortably. I shiver out of hunger and drowsiness. But I begin to wake up. I walk down the steep wooden attachment stairs and hit sand. My feet, dry, tread sand easily and then I sit down.

The dark seeks dark. The dark seeks dark. OOOOOOooooooohhhhh, darker.

oOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooohhhhh, darker.

OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOooOoooOOooOooOOoOOooooh,

Andthat’sallofmyyouthpressedintooneglassofwater.