This past week sleep has become the main focus of my work with students. Stress and Sleep. Often both of them are the issue. Usually one is feeding the other or they have a symbiotic relationship. For some the problem is I’m sleeping to much – I nap during the day, I’m sleeping longer at night but I still don’t feel rested. Or I’m having trouble getting to sleep? Waking frequently throughout the night. It doesn’t matter which of these is true it all has the same impact – I’m falling behind in my work and I am struggling to prepare for exams because I’m tired.
So I’ve put together a few tips on how to improve your basic sleep hygiene.
- Avoid napping during the day as it disturbs the normal patterns of sleep and wake cycles.
- Avoid stimulants like caffeine, nicotine and alcohol too close to bedtime.
- Exercise vigorously during the day but try a restful light exercise like yoga closer to bedtime to promote good sleep.
- Stay away from large meals before bedtime.
- Make sure you get adequate exposure to light during the day as exposure helps maintain the sleep-wake cycle.
- Establish a relaxing bedtime routine – brush teeth, put pj’s on. Avoid TV or using your phone as the screens will stimulate your brain rather than wind down for rest.
- Don’t use your bed for study, watching TV etc or you won’t associate it with sleep.
I’m not saying this will work for you all, or that it’s the only way of approaching it but I thought it might be a good place to start.