Sleep is one of the most important things for good mental health - especially in college. We spend about a third of our lives asleep, and research indicates that getting enough sleep is crucial for our well-being. Research suggests that the typical college student does not get enough sleep. However, research also indicates that students who don't get the sleep they need experience poorer physical health, psychological well-being, and academic performance.
Start feeling better and getting better grades tonight by getting enough sleep! Here are some evidence-based tips for better sleep.
- Aim to get about 7-9 hours of sleep a night. According to the National Sleep Foundation, young adults need between 7 to 9 hours each night for optimal physical and mental health.
- Try to go to sleep and wake up at about the same times every day. Although sleeping in can feel good, keeping a fixed sleep schedule helps you fall asleep faster and get the amount of sleep you need.
- Don't go to bed until you feel sleepy. Try to keep the same bedtime every night, but make sure not to go to bed until you feel physically tired. Lying wide awake in bed only makes us feel more stressed out about not sleeping. Over time, this can cause our brains to associate our beds with being awake and anxious - pretty much the opposite of what we want! In contrast, if we only go to bed when we feel tired, our brains associate our beds with sleep. This makes it easier to fall and stay asleep.
- Leave your bed if you are having trouble falling asleep. If you are having trouble getting to sleep, get out of your bed and do something else. Go back to bed when you feel sleepy again.
- Try not to nap. In most cases, napping make us feel less sleepy at night. This makes it more difficult to fall and stay asleep.
- Only use your bed for sleep. Although reading in bed can be fun, make sure not to use your bed for any activity other than sleep. This means no studying, watching TV, or eating nachos in bed. By only using your bed for sleep, you will make it easier to fall and stay asleep when you are in your bed.