If you’re heading off to college for the first time, you may be feeling some trepidation about certain aspects of student living. In addition to concerns about class load, finances, and balancing studying with your social life, you’ll have the brand-new experience of living in a campus setting to contend with. While we can’t help you nail the perfect GPA or get that coveted work study position, we do have some tips on how to get great sleep in your new environment.
Dorm Room Bedding
One of the first things you’ll want to take care of is ensuring you have a comfy place to sleep, and that means investing in some good bedding. Just make sure you get the right size. The typical college mattress in a dorm room is a size twin or a twin XL, which is the same width as a normal twin bed at 39 inches, but longer--a twin mattress is 75 inches long while a twin XL is 80 inches long. If you don’t live in a college town, it can be a pain to find a twin XL sheet size because dormitories are one of the few places that this size is commonly used. However, most big box stores carry these specially sized college bed sets in late summer, when everyone is doing their back-to-school shopping. In fact, stop into your local Verlo store for a mattress topper for just $99.99! You can also find specialty sizes online year-round. If you opt for off-campus housing, find out whether the apartment is furnished. Some are; many aren’t, which means you may need to buy a bed.
On-Campus or Off-Campus?
When it comes to sleep, there are advantages and disadvantages to both on-campus and off-campus student living. On-campus dorms are almost always closer to academic buildings than off-campus housing is, which means more time to sleep in. Dorms also tend to have resources like study rooms and laundry facilities, which means doing these chores is less likely to cut into your sleep time. In a typical dorm room situation, there are two (sometimes three) people sharing a room, and some people find it hard to sleep with another person in the room watching TV or studying with the lights on. If you live off-campus, chances are you’ll at least have your own personal bedroom to retreat to at night. However, many dorms also have a “quiet hours” policy that you won’t find in your typical off-campus apartment.
Getting Good Sleep in Spite of Your Roommate
If you have an inconsiderate roommate, or if the two of you just have incompatible schedules (e.g., he likes to burn the midnight oil and schedules all his classes for after lunch, while you prefer to be asleep by 10 and have your classes out of the way early in the day), there are still ways to snag quality sleep each night. A white noise machine or foam earplugs will help cut out noise, while a sleep mask can simulate a pitch-dark sleep environment. You and your roomie can also practice the art of compromise: maybe he can use the study room down the hall at night, while you promise to be quiet as a mouse getting ready in the mornings. US News & World Report offers more tips for getting along with your roommate and finding a happy medium.
Adjusting to college life can take a while. It’s a big change and a lot of new responsibility, but taking care of your physical and mental health by making quality sleep a priority every night will go a long way toward helping you make the most of the many opportunities that college has to offer.