How Students Can Get Better Sleep

Seeing as students have a reputation for sleeping all the time, you wouldn’t think they’d need an article on how to get even more sleep. But students, just like the rest of us, can suffer from sleeping problems, so this article will show how students can get a better night's sleep.

Why is sleep important for students?


Of course, sleep is important for everyone. A lack of sleep can decrease the immune system, making us more susceptible to illnesses such as colds and flu. Severe sleep disorders can also cause or exacerbate mental health problems like stress, anxiety and depression.

For students who need their brainpower to be running at optimum levels though, a lack of sleep can be detrimental to focus and concentration. It goes without saying that good grades need good sleep.

Why might students not be getting enough sleep?

There are plenty of reasons why students might not be getting enough sleep. Some of these reasons could be:

Worry and stress about

Poor sleep habits due to irregular bedtimes
Too much caffeine
An unhealthy diet
Noisy housemates
Working around university commitments

How students can get better sleep

Everyone needs a different amount of sleep. After all, Margaret Thatcher famously said how she didn’t need more than four hours of sleep a night.

Although four hours of sleep may have been enough for the late former Prime Minister on which to run a country, most mere mortals need more than four hours a night and the average university student is said to need 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night.

Students should adopt a regular sleep schedule

Students don’t have a regular get up/go to work/come home from work/eat dinner/go to bed kind of a day, so it’s no wonder their sleep patterns are all over the place. Students have an irregular life of seminars, studying and socialising at various times during the day and evening and then it’s likely they’ll have a part-time job with varying shifts to fit in too.

A regular sleep schedule will help in regulating sleep though, and going to bed at the same time each night and getting up at the same time each morning will hugely improve anyone’s quality of sleep.

No coffee or alcohol before bed

Okay, so expecting students to never have alcohol before going to bed is asking to be laughed at, but drinking alcohol or coffee before bed will disrupt sleep and therefore should be avoided just before hitting the sack.

Don't forget to exercise in the day

Exercise will burn energy and make you tired. It can be as simple as going for a half hour walk twice a day. Ideally taking 10,000 steps a day if possible. It doesn't have to be an hour down the gym or an exercise class though. If you don't take any exercise it will be harder to sleep.

Writing a to-do list can help students to fall asleep quicker

student sleeping

Students always have essays, assignments or coursework they need to do or should have done. Writing a to-do list can help calm the anxious thoughts buzzing around their heads when students are feeling overwhelmed with stuff that’s due to be tackled or overdue.

So, although writing down that an essay needs to be written may not actually get the essay written, it may help students sleep and stop them fretting about that unwritten essay in the early hours.

Don’t just take my word for it though - falling asleep quicker after writing a to-do list has been scientifically proven.

Take sleep hygiene seriously

Sleep hygiene isn’t just about having clean sheets on your bed, although a clean bed will certainly help anyone sleep better. After all, we all love clean sheets, don’t we?

Sleep hygiene is all about making the sleep environment the best it can be. Amongst other things, that’s keeping the bedroom at a temperature that’s neither too hot nor too cold and keeping the bed simply for sleeping in or having sex (i.e. not lazing around in it watching Netflix on a phone or laptop).

Speaking of phones and laptops, good sleep hygiene also means not looking at screens for at least an hour before going to bed. Not even with blue light filters.

Seek further help if sleep problems persist

Everyone has problems sleeping sometimes but if sleep problems persist and it becomes a real problem that is harming physical or mental health, professional help should be sought from a GP or other medical professional.

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