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The Importance of Getting A Good Night's Sleep

male student sleepingOne of the most frequent problems experienced by college students is fatigue.  Students have a busy and demanding lifestyle that often leaves precious few hours for rest.  One essential tool for combating fatigue is an adequate amount of restful sleep.  While this may vary with different individuals, a minimum of 7 hours can be a good starting point.

Here are ten tips offered by the Better Sleep Council on how to maximize the benefit of your valuable sleep time:

  1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule. To improve your sleep, and make sure you are getting good sleep, it's best to develop a consistent wake-up time, even on weekends.
  2. Exercise regularly.  Exercise enhances sleep by burning of tension that accumulates during the day.  It's best not to exercise late in the evening right before bedtime.
  3. Stay away from stimulants.  If you love coffee, have your last cup of the day no later than 6-8 hours before your bedtime.  Caffeine used to boost concentration for studying often makes it hard to sleep.  Nicotine is an even stronger stimulant than caffeine, so it is best not to smoke.
  4. Drink only in moderationToo much alcohol early in the evening can make it hard to fall asleep, and too much at bed time can make it harder to stay asleep.
  5. Go for quality sleep, not quantity.  Your goal should be to sleep only as much as you need in order to feel refreshed the next day.
  6. Set aside planning time early in the evening to get rid of distractions.  Identify what needs to be done tomorrow and make lists so you don't feel you have to keep reminding yourself of things to do when you are trying to fall asleep.  Worrying about what needs to be done the next day is a frequent cause of insomnia.
  7. Don't nap if you're having problems sleeping at night.  For some people, particularly insomniacs, naps make sleep problems worse.
  8. Don't go to bed stuffed or starved.  A big meal late at night forces your digestive system to work overtime and a rumbling stomach interferes with your ability to settle down and sleep through the night.
  9. Don't eat, study, or watch TV in bed. It often helps to set aside the bed as a place associated with sleeping only.  Making your bed clean and attractive also helps preserve its image as a comfortable place to "get away from it all" and to sleep.
  10. Develop a sleep ritual. It will be easier to make the transition to sleep if you repeat these activities every night before going to bed.

 

Authored by: Hall Health Center Health Promotion staff

Reviewed by: Hall Health Center Primary Care Clinic staff (KC), February 2014