Talking Points

How to get better sleep as a student

Is there anything worse than lying awake in the wee hours of the morning, knowing that in only a few hours, you’ll have to go face a gruelling lecture, seminar or exam, exhausted from the night before?

Unfortunately, this is a reality that a lot of students face.

Of course, sleep issues affect us all. However, often students find that the change in routine from pre-university life – alongside all the opportunities for socialising and having fun very late on an evening – can make falling into a bad sleeping pattern very easy indeed.

So here our top seven list of how you can make your university experience a much more rested one.

1. Don’t go to all of the parties

We know that, especially for first year students, the freedom of independence can be exciting, sometimes overwhelmingly so, and the temptation to stay out more often can get the better of us. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t enjoy your university experience to the fullest: it’s just a case of spreading these things out.

If you overdo it, your studies and your bank balance are likely to suffer. In addition to this, there’s a sense of diminishing returns: if you so something too often, it becomes less special and exciting. So, go out and party, just not all the time.

2. Take noise into account when picking your accommodation

One of the best things about the amount of choice when it comes to Leeds student accommodation is that you can really pick a home that suits your needs best.

So, if you know that you’re a fussy sleeper who is sensitive to noise for example, maybe take that into account before moving into an area known for loud and late house parties.

Students at a party, having a good time.

3. Make your bedroom a place of rest

This is a classic piece of advice but one which has stood the test of time. One of the most effective ways of improving your sleep patterns is to keep your bedroom as a place that is solely used for sleep. That way, your brain associates that room with sleep.

As a student letting agency, we know that there’s tons of accommodation options out there with plenty of room, so that you can keep your room as a sleeping sanctuary.

If you do find that you’re limited on study space or that your home is just causing too many distractions, then make use of your university library to preserve your bedroom’s tranquil, study-free atmosphere.

4. Have a routine

This works for similar reasons as our last example. If you do the same routine – say, an hour before you go to sleep – then your brain begins to associate these actions with what happens pre-rest, making the transition to dreamland easier.

Obviously, this won’t work if you make your routine listening to heavy metal while thinking about all the things that stress you out the most an hour before bed. You’re better off picking something along the lines of a nice bath.

5. Limit your caffeine intake

Drinking coffee at home.

A lot of us don’t realise just how much caffeine we’re consuming and the detrimental effect it can have on our sleeping patterns. Caffeine, is, after all, a drug, and when taken in excess, it can have negative effects: the most obvious being a lack of sleep.

So, limit your intake as much as you can and try to cut it out completely a few hours before your plan on sleeping.

6. Stay off screens before bed

Just like caffeine, limiting our screen use before we go to sleep is a great way of keeping the insomnia at bay. The light from LCD screens – the type you’ll find on phones and tablets –emits a light which tricks our internal body clock and prevents the release melatonin, widely known as the sleep hormone.

Although it may still be possible to sleep, it will likely be more difficult and the sleep you do get will be lighter and less satisfying than you would achieve otherwise.

7. Sleep when sleepy and don’t get to stressed about it

Sleep is important but getting worked up about a lack of sleep can be like psychological quicksand: the more you try, the worse it becomes. So, do what you can to improve your sleep patterns but don’t try to force it. Whatever will be will be and one bad night of sleep won’t kill you.

If you can’t sleep, do something relaxing until you feel sleepy. This will be a lot more effective than lying awake and frustrated all night.

Student sleeping in bed.

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