This midterm season I thought I could highlight the benefits of sleep, as well as offer some tips to help you get a better night’s sleep. The National Sleep Foundation announced their annual Sleep Awareness Week which will take place from April 23 – 29, 2017, but there is no time like the present to improve your mood and ability to function!
An article entitled “Pilot study of a sleep health promotion program for college students” from the scholarly journal Sleep Health, which is available through the library’s database ScienceDirect, states that college students get 7 hours of sleep per night on average. That is the lowest amount of hours on the recommended scale. Many students also reported getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night. Skipping out on a few hours of sleep creates “sleep debt,” making you feel tired throughout the day and like you need to catch up on that sleep on the weekends. The college students in the study reported having symptoms of daytime sleepiness, fatigue, lack of motivation, and concentration/memory difficulties. These symptoms are associated with lower grades, falling asleep while driving, and feelings of depression. A consistent sleep schedule where individuals get enough hours of sleep each night can lead to a better mood, better academic performance, and improved mental and physical health.
Here are some tips to get a better night’s sleep from an article entitled “How do I get a great night’s sleep?” that appeared in this month’s issue of the popular magazine Harper’s Bazaar, which is available through the library’s database subscriptions.
- Give yourself 20 minutes before your bedtime to relax.
- Try to power down electronics at least two to three hours before bedtime.
- Use a sleep mask.
- Upon waking, expose yourself to light in order to tell your body it is time to wake up and reset your natural sleep cycle or circadian rhythm. The circadian rhythm responds to light, which is why blue light electronics, including laptops and phones, can interfere with you ability to fall asleep. The light tells your body it is still daytime.
- If you find yourself running through your to-do list or worrying about something as you are trying to fall asleep, try something called “constructive worrying.” Three hours before your bedtime write out a to-do list for the next day or write out the problems that are causing you to worry. Then brainstorm some solutions so that your mind can feel at ease as you are trying to fall asleep. Setting aside a “worry time” helps you to get through things that need to be done and have a restful night’s sleep.
- Try and keep a consistent bedtime and morning schedule. This helps train your circadian rhythm.
Editor’s note: This blog post was written by Ariana Varela, a student assistant in the Reference & Research Services Department and the Rare Book Room at Gleeson Library.