Sleeping Better: The university student’s conundrum

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The life of a university student is far from easy; as soon as you enter this new phase, the impossibility of finding a balance between studies, a social life and extracurriculars takes over, and basic functions like sleep become an afterthought. In fact, as I sit here writing this, it is 2:30 in the afternoon, three hours after I frantically woke up and realized that I had slept through all of my alarms this morning. ‘Sleep’ is starting to seem like a living, breathing parasite that is gradually controlling me instead of vice versa, and I refuse to stand for it.

‘Sleep’ is starting to seem like a living, breathing parasite that is gradually controlling me instead of vice versa, and I refuse to stand for it.

If you’re in a similar situation, here are some achievable tips to improve your sleep routine:

  1. Say goodbye to bedtime blues: We’ve all been there, lying awake and trying to count sheep between thoughts after thoughts on our routines and deadlines after having make our fifth calculation in twenty minutes about how many hours of sleep we’re going to get. Parents, rejoice! Yet another reason to blame our phones for all our health problems; the problem lies in the cultivated habit of staring at our screens minutes before bed. So tonight, give the screens a rest and maybe you’ll experience a difference.
    give the screens a rest and maybe you’ll experience a difference

  2. Ride the sleep cycle: If you want to make sure that you’re ready to rise when your alarm rings, set it at the moment your sleep cycle ends. An average human being’s sleep cycle is 90 minutes, so ideally, set your alarm 6 or 7 and a half hours after you go to bed. This way, you can make your mornings a little less groggy and your first cup of coffee a little less caffeinated.
  3. Catching up on lost sleep: Scientific research indicates that most people only require two or three good nights of sleep to recover from serious sleep deprivation. So the next time you’ve spent a week pulling all-nighters and binging on energy drinks (or a five-day streak of late nights-out), schedule a weekend or a couple of days of nine to ten hours of sleep, and you should be back on your feet.

    schedule a weekend or a couple of days of nine to ten hours of sleep

  4. How to nap the right way: Most people I know fit into two categories of nap-takers: those that swear by them, and those who possess a violent trepidation of the concept. A message to the latter: the power of naps must not be underestimated; even Einstein took naps regularly. Scientifically, the best and most effective naps are between 15 to 20 minutes, and taken between 1:00 pm to 3:00 pm. Make the above changes, and soon you will possess a masterful command over the art of napping, and life will never be the same.
    the power of naps must not be underestimated

However, there is still no guarantee that these tips will bring an end to sleepless nights and dozing off at lectures, but hopefully, they will make it more bearable. If not, at least take solace in the fact that the very intention of improving one’s sleep patterns is a step towards balance. Happy napping!

at least take solace in the fact that the very intention of improving one’s sleep patterns is a step towards balance

Photograph by J.B Hill via Creative Commons and Flickr

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