How to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

By Kat Kaderabek

Sleep is necessary to maintaining a healthy lifestyle, and for those with chaotic schedules, especially college students, sleep can be unprioritized. Sleep regulates blood sugar levels, builds the immune system, decreases stress, and allows the body to recuperate after a day’s activities. However, many people do not get enough sleep as they should.

Sleep Health Foundation reports that the average twenty-year old should receive seven to nine hours of sleep every night in order to be healthy and well-rested. Harvard’s Medical Research program concluded that 40% of college students felt rested no more than two days per week. Sleep is vital, and getting to sleep quicker can be accomplished through any of the following steps.

  1. Repetition is a great way to slow down the mind from anxiety-inducing thoughts.Your parents were not lying when they suggested counting sheep to put you to sleep.  Even repeating prayers or song lyrics will calm your body and relax your heart rate, allowing sleep to come easier. Try Triangle Breathing in order to calm your body; breathe in, hold, then breathe out for comfortable periods of time, focusing on the breaths themselves.
  2. Melatonin supplements are a great way to get a good night’s sleep. Melatonin is a natural, non-addictive drug often used to treat short-term sleeping problems. Nature Made sells supplements for as low as $10. However, make sure to note the regular dosage for your height and weight. The supplement should be taken two hours before bed to ensure a restful night’s sleep. Melatonin supplements can have serious consequences when not administered properly including headaches, dizziness, nausea, and disorientation.
  3. Sleep in a cool room. There is nothing better than laying your head down on a cold pillow, and a cool room is the perfect way to fall asleep faster. Extreme temperatures can cause discomfort and interfere with dreams, as one’s body temperature increases throughout the night.
  4. Invest in a weighted blanket. Instead of piling on the covers, a weighted blanket keeps the heat in and provides a secure environment, allowing the body to remain calm and relaxed. The blanket acts as a cocoon, keeping cold air out and allowing body heat to circulate under the covers leaving the individual more relaxed. The prices of a weighted blanket vary from $35 to $120 depending on size and weight. Bed, Bath, and Beyond sells a medium sized, six pound blanket for $50.
  5. Avoid caffeine and other sugary foods and drinks after 3pm. These foods will keep your mind and body active, hindering your ability to fall asleep quickly and efficiently. If eating sweets is unavoidable, do exercises before bed in an attempt to burn off the sugars.
  6. Turn off your laptop and phone or turn on Night Mode. Exposure to blue-light is proven to affect sleep schedules according to Harvard Health. The blue-light throws off the circadian rhythm, affecting the body’s biological clock.  Many people scroll through social media before going to bed; however, the exposure to blue-light during this time period can keep you up for an extra thirty minutes to two hours. Try to visit social media sites fifteen to thirty minutes before turning off the lights for bed and, once the lights are off, resist the urge to pick up any electronics.
  7. Take a relaxing shower before bed. Let the heat loosen your muscles and stretch out anything that feels tight. The warm water will provide easier breathing conditions, reducing phlegm, and even help with blemishes on the skin according to healthonline.com.  
  8. Listen to soft music. Listening to fast, beat-driven songs will create an unwanted adrenaline rush that releases chemicals such as dopamine, designed to keep you alert. Listening to soft, slow music will provide the perfect atmosphere for sleep. Listening to songs as you fall asleep can also be a great relaxing technique to gain faster shut-eye.
  9. Create a sleep-routine and stick to it. Plan your night out, from washing your hair to brushing your teeth. Having an order will allow your body to become accustomed to falling asleep at certain times.
  10. Do not sleep in a position where you can see a clock. Checking the time consistently will only restart your stress and anxiety. Playing the, “If I go to sleep right now,” game can be toxic and ultimately time consuming. Only check a clock before going to bed, but always have one near for alarm purposes.

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