Zzzz: How to Sleep Like a Baby

by Molly Scott

Even though we may have settled into our fall schedules here at Barnard, most of us probably haven’t fallen into a good sleep rhythm yet. Sleep is so important for a college student: it’s not only essential for being able to study and pay attention in class, but it’s essential for basically every activity you do during the day. Whether you’re waking up every 2 hours or not able to fall asleep, we’ve got some advice to help you get the rest you need.

O sleep, sleep, wherefore art thou sleep?

Avoid caffeine and sweets at night. This is a tough one because we are either drinking coffee to help us study at night or binging on Westside cookies while studying. However, if you cut caffeine a few hours before going to sleep and try to enjoy the sugary foods early in the day, it can really help your sleep. Also, going to bed on a full stomach can destroy a good night’s rest, so try to eat dinner at least a few hours before going to bed.

Stick to a schedule. It’s important to have a “goal time” each night when you’ll try to be in bed. Try to stick to this time every weeknight (obviously this can’t be done on weekends) and your body will get used to this schedule. Once your body has adjusted to this time, it’ll be easier to fall asleep because your body “knows it’s time for bed”. It’s also important to wake up at the same time everyday, even weekend mornings if possible. Waking up at the same time everyday will help your internal clock run on a strict, but healthy schedule.

Exercise, but early! Exercise is a great way to ensure that you’ll be tired at night and sleep really well. However, it’s important to exercise in the morning or afternoon and not late at night. This will prevent you from being tired at a reasonable hour and can negatively affect your sleep once your head hits the pillow.

Read something relaxing. If you find yourself lying in bed not being able to fall asleep, find reading material that isn’t a textbook or study-related. Something like a magazine or a light novel is a great way to help you feel sleepy while you’re lying in bed. If you can, try not to study or do work in your bed – make it a place for sleep only.

Invest in sleep gear. If you have a roommate or are a very light sleeper, buying a sleep mask and earplugs is a great idea. This will block out noise and any type of light that your roommate might produce while she’s studying. These are also great tools for creating the perfect sleeping conditions.

Sweet dreams Barnard!

Molly is a junior at Barnard and Senior Editor of The Nine Ways of Knowing.

Thanks to Everyday Health for their contributions. Image courtesy of SUNY Geneseo.

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