Sleep Better, Study Better
Staying up late, sleeping in, napping during lectures – for most students, partying comes before sleep. But skimping on sleep can cause a range of mental and physical health problems, it can also affect your ability to learn.
According to The Sleep Council, most adults need 7-8 hours sleep per night, while teenagers need 9-11. The timing of their sleep can also differ from adults. “We all joke about teenager laziness, says Dr Peter Venn of the Sleep Disorder Centre, East Grinstead, but the truth is adolescents need more sleep than adults. When you compare a group of teens to 70-year-olds you find significant differences in the timing of their sleep. Nobody really knows why but it’s not all to do with lifestyle differences or the fact teenagers are more likely to be on their smartphones and suffer the effects of blue light.’
Blue light-emitting devices suppress the release of melatonin and interfere with our circadian clock which tells us when to wake and when to sleep.
So how do you get enough sleep when your lifestyle doesn’t lend itself to routine?
“University life is full of sleep challenges, with social events, friendship and study pressures and even noisy flatmates often making it hard to switch off” says Tom Cleary of Train Your Mind “so it’s important to find a sleep strategy that works. Mindfulness, meditation and gratitude apps are proven ways to calm the senses and help you sleep better, which in turn can help you feel happier, healthier and make you more likely to get the grades.
Sleep tips for students
1. Plan your sleep around your natural rhythm
We all have a preferred time for sleeping – a body clock. Whether you’re a morning person (lark) and evening person (owl), following your chronotype – that’s your preferred time to sleep – may help you get some quality kip.
2. Get on the same schedule every night
Waking up and falling asleep at the same time each day can help you get the sleep you need to function at your best. Setting an alarm or following a sleep tracker app may help you stick to the sleep schedule you set.
3. Create a pleasant sleep environment
A clean and clutter free bedroom go a long way to preparing your brain and body for sleep. Invest in cotton bedlinen, an easy to wash microfibre pillow and duvet, and a mattress protector to protect against dust mites and stains. This will also help to soften an uncomfortable university hall bed.
4. Get some exercise during the day
Regular daily exercise is important for the body and mind. “Mindfulness isn’t about blocking out negative thoughts it’s about letting them come and go rather than getting caught up in them or allowing them to dictate your mood. Learning a few mini-meditations from an app such as Calm or Headspace can really help reduce anxiety, insomnia or stress” says Tom, Train Your Mind.
5. Limit your daytime naps
Power naps are a lifeline during Freshers’ Week. Ideally keep naps to less than 30 minutes to avoid entering a deep sleep and feeling even groggier when you wake up. Sleeping for longer may also interfere with nighttime sleep.
Advice for Freshers
Industrial Design & Technology student,
Living is halls is a lot of fun but it can be tricky balancing parties, coursework and sleep. I found these items really helped me catch up on some quality Zzzzs.
Master the power nap with the help of a light-blocking eye mask
Invest in cotton bedlinen – it’s breathable, washes easily and always looks good
Block out noisy flatmates with sleep meditation podcasts such as wave or ASMR sounds
Wind down and hydrate with some herbal tea after a night out (sometimes accompanies with cheesy chips!)
Wear breathable cotton pyjamas to avoid overheating or having to exit your flat in a duvet when the fire alarm goes off!
Image: Desmond and Dempsey
Our student bed linen pack is perfect for uni halls or house shares, and provides everything they need for a good night’s sleep, once they make it to bed….