Surviving College

Sleep Survival Tips

It’s 7:00 am. Your alarm goes off. Your half awake/half asleep body musters up enough energy to open half of one eye, lift your arm and search for your phone to stop the annoying sound it’s emitting. You’re annoyed because 1. it is early, 2. that annoying sound won’t quit, and 3. it’s early.

20-year-olds are supposed to get 8 hours of sleep a night, but frankly, sometimes that feels like a nap. Sometimes it doesn’t matter how early we get to bed, waking up can be a struggle on any given morning.

In college, or if you are working a full-time job and doing real adult things, sleep can seem like a lost commodity. Life gets busy; papers need to be written, friends need to be hung out with, movies need to be watched. I get it.

If you have never heard of a sleep debt? Well, it’s a real thing. It happens when we humans don’t get the adequate rest we need and bad stuff gets trapped in our blood or something. Sleeping literally does so much to clear our body of toxins. Read up about it, it is fascinating stuff!

In order to truly maximize your time during the day, you need to first start with your sleeping habits at night. Here are some tips to get you through this week fully rested, your body clear of toxins, and your mind operating at its highest capacity!

#1: Get off your phone.

Seriously. The tweets, pointless Facebook videos, endless scrolling through Instagram memes, they can get addicting once you climb into bed, but they are butting in on precious time your body should be resting. On average, you lose almost one hour of sleep by reaching for your phone right when you lay your head on your pillow.

I suggest unplugging yourself from any form of technology 30-45 minutes before you want to be asleep to put your eyes and mind at rest from all that the interwebs have to offer.

#2: Relax your mind and body.

There are tons of ways to relax yourself before drifting off to sleep. A few of my favorite ways to relax pinpoint different areas of my life that may be causing my brain to overwork itself.

If you are feeling overwhelmed or anxious: focus on breathing deeply and slowly, play calming instrumental music , or make a cup of chamomile tea. If your body is feeling tense or overworked, massage these specific pressure points to relieve some of the tension. One huge thing that I noticed I was doing during those nights where I couldn’t fall asleep was clenching my jaw. I read an article about how clenching my jaw was keeping my body from relaxing and falling asleep. Now if I am having a hard time falling asleep, I will check to see if I am holding tension in my jaw–most of the time I am and I don’t notice!

#3: Prepare to wake up.

This is so important! How you wake up will set the tone for your day. Set an alarm that is calming or happy–there are so many different alarm sounds to pick from on your smartphone. If you are a heavy sleeper, turn up the volume of your alarm and have it set to also vibrate while it goes off. Waking up to an obnoxious noise or annoying beep will make you wake up frustrated or freaked out when it blares. You shouldn’t wake up scared by an alarm you set for yourself. Take control over how you wake up and you’ll take control over your day!

I hope these tips help you as much as they help me! The state of mind I fall asleep and wake up with affect the way I view my day. Take care of yourself and your body will thank you.