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5 Ways to Get the Enough Sleep You Need in College

Paisley Hansen Nov 04, 2019
So you're about to start your first semester at college, or maybe you've already started. Maybe you've already found yourself working straight through till sunrise, or surviving on coffee and energy drinks to get through the school day after a late night partying. Good sleep patterns and college life do not often go hand in hand, so here are some tips.

Make a Routine

Way back before the invention of the light bulb, humanity's collective sleep schedules were pretty much defined by the rising and setting of the sun. Chances are when you were younger, your parents set that routine with bedtimes and breakfasts. Now you're at college and it's time for you to set that schedule yourself.
You have classes to get to in the morning, and you need to be well rested. Routine is probably one of the best tips to help you sleep. You need to let your body learn and know when it's time to rest. That means making a routine, having a schedule, and sticking to that routine and that schedule. 

Watch What you Eat and Drink Before Bed

Part of that routine is going to be watching what you eat and drink right before bed. Obviously you don't want anything caffeinated or heavy on sugar. You'll also want to stay away from heavy meals as well. All these things can keep you awake or disturb your sleep, so do your best to avoid them for at least an hour before bed.

Wind Down

Part of being able to fall asleep naturally and sleep well is winding down. Read a book or do something quiet and soothing. Try not to do anything too mentally or emotionally taxing right before bed. That includes parties and arguments with your roommate. Homework, studying, and writing an essay that's due in the morning do not count as soothing activities.

Put a Light Filter on Your Phone

Ideally, you should minimize the use of screens before bed, but for a college student that isn't always realistic. Your phone alarm might be part of your sleep routine, or maybe the book that you're reading to wind down is on your phone.
Any screens you do look at late at night should have a light filter to make them easier on your eyes and your brain. Blue light from screens can keep your brain awake, which is why it's so easy to scroll through blue-tinted social media apps until the wee hours of the morning. 

Be Prepared With Sleep Mask and Ear Plugs

College dorms are not always an ideal environment. If you can make sure that your room is dark and quiet, that's the best option. You might have a roommate or two, and if they need the lights on, you can't exactly force them to turn them off and work in the dark. If you can't make your room dark and quiet, get used to sleeping with an eye mask and ear plugs.

Be Sure to Enjoy College!

College is a time to explore your interests and figure yourself out, as well as get an education and make friends. Staying up late is a common part of that experience, but that doesn't make it a good or healthy part of that experience. Of course some late nights are unavoidable, either because of school work or social obligations.
You'll have to adapt, but don't let those all-nighters become an all-the-time occurrence. Do yourself a favor and develop healthy sleep habits sooner rather than later. It'll spare your grades as well as saving your physical and mental health.