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Student Life
Life @ SC

Make Sleep Hygiene Part of Your Routine

By Andrea Schmitt
You know how you feel when you haven’t slept enough. You can’t get up in the morning, you can’t stay awake during class, you have no energy for sports in the afternoon. It feels like you’re not your best self and your only goal is going to sleep as quickly as possible…

Your parents (and your teachers) might have given you lectures about what you should do, and you’ve heard it all before, you know the theory. Nevertheless, I’m here as well to tell you that sleep is really important for your brain and your body in order to perform well. So, try to do it for them if you don’t want to do it for yourself.
 
 
Why do you experience sleep problems?
You might have more trouble falling asleep now than when they were younger. Your body will experience different growth phases, and these can change your sleep rhythm (the circadian cycle rhythm). Academic and personal stress as well as anxiety can be other reasons. Also, the use of devices that emit blue light can affect our sleep patterns.
 
What are the consequences of sleep problems?
You know it, sleep is vital! People who get enough sleep are healthier and experience better concentration, attention, memory and academic performance. If you do not get enough sleep over an extended time, it can lead to, in the best case, feeling cranky and having low energy. (The official scientific list is much, much longer…)
 
What to do?
Try to find out which nights you slept well and, most of all, which ones you didn’t. Think about when you went to bed, if it was too hot or cold. If you watched TV or used your phone an hour before you fell asleep. If you were comfortable on the pillow or the mattress. Were you tired, ignored it, and suddenly were “wired” and couldn’t fall asleep? Try to be like a detective…
  • Keep track of sleep patterns and schedules. 
  • Maintain a regular sleep schedule, even on weekends, if possible.
  • Create a sleep-friendly physical environment.
  • Keep a consistent bedtime routine.
  • Try to “wind down” by doing less stimulating activities such as reading or listening to calm music. Do not use this time to watch television, cram in more studying, use the computer, talk on the phone or exercise.
Additional ideas
  • If you find the mattress uncomfortable, add a mattress topper. Here are the ones that my daughter has used. She liked this one and this one.
  • A weighted blanket can help you sleep. There are different sizes and weights you can get; my daughter is happy with this one.
  • If your room is not completely dark, try sleeping with a sleep mask. This is the one I like and this is the one that my daughter likes.
  • Find a pillow you like, one that is not too high and too low. There are ones with down feathers, foam, and synthetic fillings. The goal is to find one that you really like.
  • If you like to cuddle, there are some great soft toys animals at IKEA. (No, I don’t think you’re ever too old for a soft toy if that is what you like.)
  • If waking up in the morning in the winter is hard, a wake-up lamp could help. My daughter has been using it since she has been living on her own. Check with your roommate; maybe you can get one together.
  • Some essential oils have a calming effect. You can put them on strategic points on your skin (wrist, temple, behind your ear, etc.). The most important part is that you like the smell.
  • If you find that your room is very noisy, try out earplugs. These are the ones I use (because my husband snores…  maybe your roommate does as well?).
  • When I wake up and can’t fall asleep, I put my headphones in and use an app called Calm. The narrators I like are Chike Okonkwo and Alan Sklar.
Let me know what you find helpful! And share what tips work for you at andrea@globalgirlcoach.com
 
Kindly, Andrea

Andrea Schmitt is a life coach specializing in teens and a former Stanstead parent (Jessica Lozano Schmitt 2018). Find out more about her services at www.globalgirlcoach.com. Send your tips and comments to andrea@globalgirlcoach.com      
 
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