When you’re busy studying for exams, it’s easy to neglect your sleep needs, but staying up late to listen to lecture podcasts only makes it harder to concentrate on studying the next day, and a less productive study session leads to you sleeping later again the next night. It can be a vicious cycle, so here are some tips to help you get a good night’s sleep…
1. Set your sleep cycle: A lot of people seem to think that if they cruise along on three hours of sleep a night on weekdays but then sleep all day on the weekends, they’ll make up for all the sleep they missed during the week. But this will only leave you feeling lethargic and unproductive during the week and lazy on the weekend.
The best way to tackle sleep is try to go to sleep and wake up around the same time each day, which will allow your body to get into a sleep cycle, making it easier for you to get to sleep each night and wake up in the mornings.
2. Avoid caffeine: This one speaks for itself. While it’s great for all-nighters, drinking it needlessly can contribute to unwanted all-nighters when you’d rather sleep.
3. Napping: Having naps during the day can help you feel re-energised, but can also contribute to disrupted sleep at night. If you feel the need to take a nap, try to keep it under 30 minutes.
4. Exercise regularly: Exercise isn’t only useful for endorphins and taking a break from study. Moderate to heavy exercise during the day helps you fall asleep faster and get a good night’s shut-eye.
5. Eat right: Don’t go to bed feeling extremely hungry or full, because it will make it harder to fall asleep. If you do want to eat before bed, try something like a banana or some fruit and yoghurt as it boosts serotonin, which is a calming brain chemical.
6. Ban electronics: The glow from any laptop, phone or other backlit device delays the secretion of melatonin, which is the brain chemical that promotes sleep. Try to step away from technology for at least half an hour before bedtime and you’ll find yourself heading to dreamland much quicker.
7. Don’t study in bed: Studying in bed will create an association between bed and study, which could cause you anxiety and make it difficult to sleep.
8. Save the alcohol for post-exam celebrations: Surprisingly, alcohol consumption actually wakes you up. Keep the alcohol for after exams and maybe have a hot chocolate instead.
9. Stress less: It’s hard to get to sleep when all the things you need to do are going around in your head. Making a to do list can help to ease your mind and let you rest easier.
10. Count sheep: When all else fails, count sheep. Or the number of judgments Kirby J has dissented in.
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