It's that time of year again, young scholars! College students are heading back to campus to begin their spring semester. Gone are the days of sleeping in every morning of winter break and back is the grind of hitting the books. Everyone knows how chaotic the life of an undergraduate can be, but there are many ways those nuisances can be avoided. The No. 1 way? Being cognizant of the value of sleep.
If you want to start your semester on the right foot, maintaining healthy sleep habits will serve as proper guidance. Sleep can help improve your memory, stimulate your brain, and assist in maintaining a healthy immune system. Here are some tips to help you along the way.
Resist the urge of doing homework in bed.
Your body interprets your bed as the most comfortable place in your life. While the cozy setting of soft, fluffy pillows and smooth-to-the-skin comforters paint a seemingly perfect study spot, don't give in. For those exact reasons, it's easy for your body to be tricked into falling into "lazy mode," and before you know it, you'll find yourself dozing off. Just like how your body views your bed as a place of comfort, it views it as a place to get rest. Mixing your sleep environment with your studies won't bode well.
Create and maintain a healthy sleep schedule. They say staying on top of college coursework requires the same dedication as a full-time job. With that in mind, it's imperative to establish a sleep schedule that accompanies your studies. According to Dr. William Dement at Stanford University, the average sleep requirement for a college student is well over eight hours. The majority of students fall within the range of this value plus or minus one hour. By planning out your day down to each hour -- from going to class, to studying, to your meals -- you'll be able to be well-rested and earn the proper amount of sleep.
Don't watch TV before bed.
Procrastination always sits around the corner for any college student, and one of the primary causes are video streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu. With that being said, it's vital to stay away from any screen time before hitting the hay. According to an article done at Sleep.org, the bright light that comes from your television or phone may end up keeping you awake. This occurs from the blue light that the screens emit, as it prevents the brain from making melatonin. In turn, this can offset any REM development and lead to morning drowsiness.
Use a fan or other noise device to block out distractions.
Since you're in college, there's a high chance you have roommates to help foot the cost of rent. While we're sure you love them, sometimes it can be distracting to have others in the house while you sleep. By turning on a fan, the extra noise can be blocked out. If you're not a fan of cold temperatures in your bedroom, a lot of people find that white noise machines help you reach a consistent state of REM. It goes even further beyond white noise -- some people use the soothing sounds of jet engines to reach the boundaries of their dreams.
There are countless other ways of how sleep can be maximized while earning a degree. This small list resembles just a handful. Regardless, it's crucial to realize how much your body relies on sleep.