The average person gets around 7-9 hours of sleep every day, but it’s a different story for high school and university students. Studies show that half of Aussie teens aged 16-17 aren’t getting enough sleep during the week, and university students are only averaging 6-7 hours a night. It’s not unusual for students to experience sleep deprivation and for many various reasons.
With the heavy workload students experience, it’s common practice to have late-night study sessions to finish an assignment or revise for an exam the next day. Unfortunately, this often leads to poor sleep habits and students not getting enough sleep.
Being busy shouldn’t be an excuse for you not to get a good night’s sleep. At Ecosa, we care about your wellbeing, so here are some tips for developing good sleep habits to avoid future sleep disorders and promote overall wellness.
Set a sleep schedule
The best tip out there is to set a sleep schedule for yourself. It’s the best way to develop healthy sleep habits around your busy schedule.
Avoid pulling all-nighters. We get how tempting it is to cram all night, but you’ll only mess up your sleeping pattern; plus if you’re too tired, it’s likely you won’t retain much of the information you’re studying. Instead, work with your habits and daily schedule to figure out what time to go to bed.
An excellent way to determine your bedtime is to go eight hours before you need to be up. For example, if you usually wake up at 9 am, going to bed just after midnight should still give you the right amount of sleep.
Sticking to a regular sleep schedule allows your body to follow a normal circadian rhythm and often leads to better quality sleep and reduced sleep problems.
Another way of establishing a good bedtime routine and proper sleep schedule is to avoid sleeping in on weekends. It might feel like you’re catching up on missed hours of sleep, but all you’re doing is disrupting your normal sleep cycle.
Physical exercise is an excellent way for you to get better sleep quality, but you have to be mindful of when. Intense exercise too close to bedtime might give you too much energy and leave you up all night. Contrary to the belief of others that you can tire yourself to sleep, it’s actually the opposite. Good late-night workouts include walking, yoga or pilates, as these are low-intensity.
Starting your morning with a higher-intensity workout is a great idea. It kickstarts your day and helps you get the alertness you need in the morning.
Living a healthy and active lifestyle also helps reduce stress from schoolwork and can even boost your mental health.
It’s easy to think of naps as a quick fix for lack of sleep, but in reality, long naps can compromise your overall sleep quality.
Power napping for 15 minutes shows promising results in refreshing your energy and helps with memory retention during your late-night revision and assignments.
Students are known to be the best market for caffeinated drinks and products. Whether it be coffee from your local barista or a 6-pack of energy drinks, the caffeine you intake can keep you at night.
So, to avoid insomnia or sleep deprivation, limit your caffeine intake and stop drinking coffee or energy drinks after 4 pm where possible.
Books rather than screens
Although the best practice is not to do anything before bed, some students have to squeeze in time late at night to review and study for upcoming exams.
If you have physical textbooks, it might be best to read over those instead of anything on a screen late at night. Your electronic devices emit a blue light, which is known to repress melatonin production. Melatonin is an important hormone that helps us get to sleep.
Don’t study in bed
While it sounds tempting to lie down and open your notes while laying in bed, it can be very counterintuitive.
Our brains are easily programmable to patterns of things we do. For example, if we get used to lying down in bed while studying, it would not be a surprise if we fall asleep fast in the middle of a study session. So instead, pick a designated spot in your home to be your study nook.
Practise good sleep hygiene
Whether you’re a busy student or not, practising good sleep hygiene goes a long way when it comes to getting a good night’s sleep.
One of the ways to observe proper sleep hygiene is by ensuring that your sleep environment is cozy enough and sufficiently quiet so you can sleep in peace, even without earplugs.
It’s best to keep your room dark, clean, silent, and at the right temperature to give you a cool, calm, restful sleep.
Some people play white noise in the background as it’s an excellent way to drown out external noise, plus some white noise frequencies are known to help retain memory.
Know the value of sleep
Knowing the value of good sleep as a student is key for motivating yourself to develop better sleep routines and habits. Being mindful of sleep’s benefits serves as an incentive to ensure that you get the most out of your rest.
The overall reduced stress, improved health and wellness, better memory retention and thought processing, and a better immune system. Sleep plays so many vital roles in your academic and overall life, so make sure to get plenty of it!