Trade a night out for a good night’s sleep.
As a student, getting the recommended eight hours of sleep on a daily basis can seem like such an intangible goal—especially while in quarantine. Seriously—between working from home, online lectures, trying to handle group assignments, and online exams coming up, getting enough sleep isn’t even on our radar.
The truth is sleeping problems are so common for college and university students. Studies have shown that a whopping 60 per cent of students suffer from poor quality of sleep.
If you’re struggling to maintain a healthy sleep schedule, you’ve come to the right place.
Check out our guide to fix your quarantine sleep schedule… fast:
1. Sign off before bed
Social media is toxic.
Amid this pandemic, there has been a media overload of COVID-19-related news—much of it sensationalized. It’s easy to get caught up in the thick of it and that’s no good for your mental health. Before you spend hours scrolling through your phone before bed, think about the consequence it may have.
A study done by PBS found that “the blue light emitted by smartphones and tablets simulates daylight, inhibiting the brain’s production of melatonin, the hormone that helps us fall asleep and stay asleep.”
To ensure you’re getting the full eight hours of Zzz’s you rightfully deserve, stop using your cellphone/electronics at least 30 minutes before your desired bedtime.
2. Take care of your mental health
Your mental health matters too.
Understandably, life may be feeling overwhelming at the moment, putting a hinder on your sleep schedule. Anxiety is a leading cause of sleep problems and sleep deprivation, so it’s vital to keep your stress levels at a minimum.
When searching for news, try not to rely on sensationalized sources that may be profiting on dramatization. Instead, educate yourself through trusted and reliable sources.
Try not to consume yourself with pandemic-related news and instead focus your energy on brain-stimulating and positive hobbies. Remember to take care of yourself and your mental health by getting ready each and every day, even when working from home. Making exercise a daily habit will also do wonders for your mind and body.
For more tips on making this quarantine a productive one, check out our foolproof guide to a productive semester in isolation.
3. Set boundaries for yourself
On average, it takes 66 days for a habit to become automatic—so, you better start now.
Remember in grade school when we’d have a designated bedtime and we stuck to it? We’d always go to sleep and wake up at the same time and definitely weren’t as tired as we are now (even though our responsibilities are much more hectic now).
Schedules are easy and effective and guess what? They actually work. Make a daily schedule of everything you need to get done and your anticipated bedtime—and do your best to stick to it. Your brain will eventually become accustomed to your new regime and will thank you for it.
Bullet journaling is a great way to manage your time and track your progress all at the same time.
4. Practice meditation
Don’t stay up late, just meditate.
Meditation can help in so many ways. Meditating and practicing mindfulness can help regulate your sleep schedule by reducing your heart rate and lowering anxiety/stress you may be feeling. Meditation also has other benefits including increased melatonin and serotonin production, reduced heart rate, decreased blood pressure, and even activating the parts of the brain that control sleep.
It’s easy, too. You can do it in three easy steps:
- Find a quiet place to sit or lie down.
- Try to clear your mind, focus on your breathing, take deep inhales and exhale.
- Try to refrain from your mind wandering. Focus on the present and re-focus when a thought pops into your head.
Try to meditate for at least five minutes before bed to see results. Need help? Search for guided sleep meditations to get you started.
5. Say goodbye to the caffeine
A caffeine fix can go a long way…a really long way.
Your average cup of joe lasts in your system for about four to six hours. What this means is that your afternoon coffee fix may be messing with your sleep even after you thought it had worn off. The American Academy of Sleep Medicine attests to this, recommending that caffeine not be consumed within six hours of your bedtime.
So, you technically don’t have to give up caffeine for good, instead, try to limit your consumption to one cup in the morning. But, that’s not all. Caffeine is a sneaky drug that is present in much more than you’d think: coffee, tea, chocolate, sodas, energy drinks—you name it.
If you’re having trouble sleeping earlier, try to cut out all the caffeine you consume daily to see if it helps.
6. Consider natural supplements
If all else fails, natural supplements may be the way to get your sleep schedule back on track.
There are a ton of natural sleep-aids that actually work and they’re not hard to come by. According to Healthline, melatonin is a hormone that your body naturally produces and signals your brain that it’s time to sleep. By using melatonin as a sleep supplement, it can help elongate your sleep time and improve its quality.
There are a ton of other supplements including herbal teas that you can drink before bed to ensure you get to sleep ASAP. Search for teas that contain valerian root, an herb native to Asia, that is used to promote sleep and reduce anxiety. Research also supports magnesium as a natural sleep aid.
Everyone’s sleep needs are a little different. Always contact a health professional before starting any new supplement or regime.
Stay up-to-date on by checking out our COVID-19 Updates for Students.
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