Did you know?
Only 13% of ODU students reported getting enough sleep 6+ days per week to feel rested in the morning and 56% of ODU students reported feeling tired, dragged out or sleepy during the day on at least 3 days of the week! (2011 ODU National College Health Assessment)
Why is sleep important?
Sleep has many benefits: strengthens your immune system, allows you to think clearly, helps achieve better moods, and restores energy.
Sleep helps organize and store information so that it is easier to recall. This occurs during dream sleep. Those who have less dream sleep may perform worse on tests of recently learned knowledge
Tips to Improve Sleep Hygiene
Be consistent: wake up within an hour of the normal wake-up time every day. Also be consistent at bed time.
Go to bed when sleepy. You could toss and turn and may more attention to the clock if you're not tired. That makes it harder for the body to go to sleep, and stay asleep.
If you can't sleep within 15-20 minutes, do something relaxing that does not involve electronics, return to bed when tired and sleepy. Repeat if you cannot fall asleep.
Skip naps or keep them short. Naps over an hour tend to decrease the amount of sleepiness you have during the day which could make it harder to fall asleep at night. Also nap earlier in the afternoon, not closer to bedtime.
If you're a little hungry, try a light carbohydrate snack, such as a cookie, with milk. You don't want to eat a lot since it can cause you to wake up and go to the bathroom.
Try reducing your exposure to bright lights. Close the blinds and turn off the lights. The light helps stop the flow of melatonin, a hormone that helps you fall and stay asleep. Without bright light, the flow of melatonin can continue.
Limit alcohol before bedtime. Don't drink alcohol later than 2 hours before bedtime. It may feel like alcohol would relax you and fall asleep; it can lead to restless and non-restorative sleep, since you are more prone to waking up as it wears off.
Limit caffeine. Don't consume it after 4pm, or within 6 hours prior to bedtime. It is classified as a stimulant, no matter if the person report not feeling its effects. It can interfere with your natural sleep cycle.
Nicotine is another stimulant you need to avoid before going to bed since you are more physically stimulated.
Bedtime ritual. Turn down the lights and make sure your bed is comfortable. Minimize the noise, you can use earplugs. Uncomfortable sleeping environments can make it harder to fall asleep. Try to establish the same routine for each and every night. It will prepare your body and mind for bedtime.
Limit activities. Do not read, watch tv, talk on the phone, fight, etc in your bed. Limit those activities to outside of your bed.
Journal. Write out any to-do lists, or thoughts you are having before bed. These things may be the items that keep you up worrying late at night, such as final exams, fears, worries.
Products to help you sleep:
- Eye mask to block out light.
- Ear plugs to block sound.
- Warm socks to warm your feet and legs
- Lavender scents are known to help calm you and make you tired
- Milk and cookies- milk has the hormone tryptophan which helps you sleep. The cookie will get the tryptophan to your brain quicker.