There always seems to be a reason for college students to stay up late, whether it’s a social occasion or academic necessity. However, sleep deprivation can become a serious problem that affects a student’s grades or social life.
The Oracle has gathered a few tips on how to prioritize time and get students to sleep more without sacrificing studying and friends.
One of the biggest contributors to sleep deprivation is procrastination – another popular affliction for college students. Putting a paper off until the night before will cause sleep loss and possibly a bad grade.
While all-nighters cannot always be avoided, a planned study schedule will help get rid of unnecessary dusk-to-dawn sessions.
Reading between classes, splitting up a paper into shorter segments and studying a little bit every night can be tedious at first but will make a remarkable difference in sleep gain.
Also, the consistent studying will lessen anxiety over assignments that keep students tossing and turning at night.
According to a study on stateuniversity.com, a consistent bedtime routine is key to any sleep cycle. It does not have to be a day schedule. It just has to span for the hours before a student goes to bed.
Going to bed and getting up around the same time despite varying class schedules is a good way to make sure your body knows its cycle. Irregularity confuses the body clock and makes it harder to fall asleep at night and wake up in the morning.
Things to avoid in the sleep schedule are scary or exciting movies and television. The adrenaline rush from watching a show may be fun, but it prevents the body from entering sleep-mode. Viewing these types of shows and movies until the next afternoon will allow the same enjoyment without the loss of sleep.
Another tip from experts at MSNBC is developing a good workout schedule. While science doesn’t have an exact answer for why this helps with sleep cycles, it could be due to the anti-anxiety effects of exercise.
The endorphins released during exercise allow a person to relax after working out and calm down easily when it is time to sleep.
While caffeine and large dinners should be off the menu three to eight hours before bedtime, having a small snack with mostly carbohydrates and a bit of protein about an hour before bed is proven to help produce serotonin, which helps the body relax before sleep, according to MSNBC.
The snack should be no more than 200 calories, or the food will just produce energy and not the right balance of serotonin. Suggested snacks are a slice of whole wheat toast topped with a small slice of low-fat cheese, a banana with a teaspoon of peanut butter or 1/2 cup healthy cereal topped with 1/2 cup skim milk.
Specialty relaxation teas can also help students wind down before bed.
If all of these tips do not work after some time, a doctor should be contacted to rule out any sleep disorders. Unless a disorder is found, sleep shouldn’t be a difficult goal for college students, and it is possible to create a healthy sleep routine without medication.