Sleeping like a baby

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Getting a good night’s sleep? Having the recommended number of hours sleep a night? Maintaining a good sleep pattern of going to bed at the same time each morning followed by a consistent time in the evening?

With partying, endless nights out and living your student life to the full, is this possible?

If you are pondering these questions in your head and realising that ‘no’ is the answer to most (if not all) of them, follow these helpful tips for a good night’s sleep.

  • Spend some time outside during the day. It is important to get enough light exposure during the day, so go outside during seminar and lecture breaks. Vitamin D is proven to help you get some rest.
  • Exercising a little during the day will help you sleep at night – see Becky Cutler’s article in this issue for tips on exercising on a student budget.
  • Avoid heavy meals in the evening or eat earlier – ensure that there is a gap of at least three hours or more between eating your evening meal and bedtime. If you like to snack, keep it light and eat no later than one hour before going to bed.
  • Have a warm, soothing drink before bedtime – camomile tea is recommended!
  • Wind down a couple of hours before bedtime with some gentle exercise such as yoga. It is medically proven to help insomnia, so get into a routine and your body will realise that it’s time for bed.
  • If you are worrying over upcoming assignments or exams, or you are thinking over the day’s activities, briefly write it all down in a to-do list or de-stress list to avoid worrying about it during your sleep.
  • Switch off your television and computers at night. Read a book or magazine and listen to some soft music instead.
  • If you wake up during the night and can’t go back to sleep after twenty minutes, read a book or magazine for a while and then try and fall back to sleep again. It breaks the cycle of tossing and turning, which only works you up.
  • Try not to have a long lie in. I know that it’s easier said than done, but try to wake up as near to your usual time in the morning as possible. It is better for your body to do this and then have a nap in the afternoon if you’re tired.
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