Students, and parents of students (and some of the rest of us too) need to read this article from the Clarion Ledger on the challenges of getting enough sleep during the college years. Here are the take-aways for improving sleep:
• Exercise regularly, but not after the early evening. Avoid caffeine after 2 p.m. Try to avoid late-night eating and alcohol, but don’t go to bed hungry, either.
• Don’t use electronics – laptops, tablets, smartphones, etc. – late at night. Not only will the content stimulate your brain, the brightness of the screen is comparable to a morning walk in the sun when it comes to waking you up.
• Make your bed a place just for sleep. Don’t study, watch TV or do anything else there (or not much else.
• If you have early classes on some days, try not to sleep in on the others. Experts say a regular schedule is the most essential element of a healthy sleep routine.
• Try to avoid naps, and if you do nap, nap before 3 p.m. and for no more than 20 minutes. Otherwise you’ll keep yourself up at night.
• Set your alarm clock – but for the evening, at a reasonable bedtime. That way, you’re less likely need it in the morning (if you need an alarm clock to wake up feeling rested, you’re not sleeping enough).