In the life of a college student, many commitments and priorities compete for time and attention. In the meantime, however, one crucial aspect of life is often ignored. College students are infamous for their poor sleeping habits, but students should think twice before living up to that reputation. Without sleep, studies show grades go down and irritability goes up. Here are some tips on how to get a good night’s sleep.
How much sleep is needed by different age groups:
-Newborn–18 months: 10.5-18 hours*
-18 months–3 years: 12-14 hours*
-3-5 years: 11-13 hours*
-5-12 years: 9-11 hours
-Adolescents: 8.5-9.5 hours
-Adults: 7-9 hours
*includes naps :br /: -http://www.cdc.gov/sleep/how_much_sleep.htm
How to fall asleep:
-Go to sleep and wake up at the same or similar times each day, even on the weekends.
-Find a consistent, relaxing bedtime routine that you like and start it at least an hour before sleep.
-Sleep in a dark, quiet, comfortable environment. That means turn the TV and lights off and use a bed and a pillow.
-Stop eating at least 2-3 hours before going to bed.
-Don’t consume caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime.
-Although it can be hard in a college living situation, try to only use the bedroom for bedroom activities. Don’t turn it into your living room.
The REM (Rapid Eye Movement) Cycle:
-Stage 1: Light sleep, the time between being awake and completely asleep.
-Stage 2: Beginning of actual sleep, breathing and heart rate become regular and body temperature drops.
-Stages 3 and 4: Deepest and most useful sleep; blood pressure drops, muscles relax and body grows new tissue and restores damaged tissue.
-REM: Happens approximately every 90 minutes after falling asleep, muscles turn completely off while the brain becomes more active and dreams take place.
Creating a Good Sleep Environment:
-Turn the heat down at night. Your body temperature naturally lowers as you sleep, so turning down the heat helps signal to your body that it’s time for sleep. If you get too cold at night, simply add a blanket or two to your bed.
-Keep the room from getting too dry by opening a window or using a humidifier. Minor annoyances like dry skin or throat can become major irritations when trying to fall asleep.
-Establish a consistent noise pattern for when you fall asleep. Some people sleep best in complete silence. For them, it can be helpful to invest in a pair of earplugs. Others like a subtle background noise like a fan or quiet music to play throughout the night. Whatever it is, pick something that works for you and then stick with it.
-Turn all the lights off. Light makes it harder for your body to fall into and maintain a proper sleep cycle.
How to wake up after a restful night’s sleep:
-Don’t put your alarm clock right next to your bed. If you have to get up to turn off the alarm, you will be more likely to stay awake after it stops making noise.
-Turn on the lights. Open the blinds, flip the light switch. Any kind of light source will help snap your body awake and signal that the time to sleep is over.
-Listen to music. Pump up some jams, especially music that makes you want to dance in order to get the blood flowing and motivate you to stay awake.
-Brush your teeth with mint toothpaste or pop a mint or piece of gum into your mouth. Minty flavors stimulate your brain and get you up and running for the day.
-Promise yourself that as soon as you wake up, something good will happen. For instance, have a delicious breakfast prepared the night before so you know you can eat it once you wake up.