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I love almost everything about University. I say ‘almost’ because amidst the essay deadlines there lurks a personal sore point for me. Most nights, just as my head touches the pillow, cue a rowdy bunch of drunks deciding it is a prime opportunity to have a loud chat outside my bedroom window. From the hum of taxis rattling the window pain, to screams of delight as hungry clubbers visit the fast-food shop across the road, or even just my brain going into overdrive due to the pile up of work growing on my desk – not being able to sleep is excruciatingly frustrating. Aside from drinking myself into oblivion every night just to get some shut eye, collecting a handful of tips to aid those like me who suffer from lack of sleep, seemed the best option.
Ear plugs. So you might not like the thought of sticking a foreign object in your ears, but personally I have found this to be very effective. Just ensure that the alarm you set for 9am is loud enough to be heard through the ear plugs, unless you want to stay awake for a whole new reason – worrying that you will totally miss your wake up call. From foam, to wax, to silicon, the ear plug market is surprisingly large, ensuring you will find the perfect pair for a peaceful night’s sleep.
Apparently thick curtains can also aid in acting as a barrier between the noise outside and your yearning to sleep inside (just ensure it is okay to start swapping your curtains around before doing so). Likewise, a layer of foam can act as an obstacle for sound and if you can find a clever way to decorate it, all the more reason. Or one for the summer months: turn on a fan, effectively drowning out unwanted noise. As the latter option is not viable for this time of the year, noise machines act similarly, playing soothing sounds that successfully muffle unwanted noise pollution.
Do not nap. Students are notorious for their bad napping habits, often turning us into nocturnal beings, yet, as night-time looms, we have no desire whatsoever to sleep. Whilst it may sound somewhat unappealing, if you feel tired during the day, physically engaging in an activity such as going for a walk or making a start on those dirty dishes will benefit you in the long term.
Create the right frame of mind. Going to bed after an argument or stressing over an essay is a recipe for disaster. Winding down in the evening may be hard for students when the workload is heavy, but relaxation is key. I find writing a to-do list empties my thoughts onto paper and frees up my mind, ready for a good night’s sleep. Others may find reading a book, having a hot drink or listening to music equally as comforting.
Finally, a few tried and tested rules for that perfect night’s sleep. Do not consume caffeine within six hours prior to bedtime; avoid strenuous physical exercise after 6 p.m.; if you are not asleep within 15 minutes, get up and do something else and never eat or watch television in bed.
Shouting out the window at noisy passers-by does not generally tend to work, as I have learnt from past experience. It does in fact only encourage them to be noisier. Hopefully some of the above tips will prove fruitful in ensuring a quiet, peaceful slumber. Oh, and for the record, it’s just an old wives tale that eating cheese before you go to bed gives you nightmares.