Sleep! The one thing that we want more of even when we’ve had enough (I suppose alcohol fits the bill as well). It feels like quality sleep is more of a privilege than a right, though. Most of us can knock out with more or less no issue, but when we wake up we still feel groggy, tired, or in some cases moody. It has been proven time and time again how positive the influence of good sleep is. Our reaction times go up, we’re in a better mood, and we’re overall more productive. So why does it seem like good sleep is so much to ask for? Well a lot of factors can hinder quality of sleep, there’s plenty one can do to ensure you hit the hay gracefully and wake up feeling ready to conquer.
- Do not go on your phone before falling asleep or after waking up.
This one I feel I cannot stress enough. As a matter of fact I will stress it once more. Absolutely DO NOT be on your phone before or after bed. This goes for any screen – do not be on it. I tend to spend the hour before bed without my phone or any other kinds of technology. The reason for this is because your eyes get strained before bed because of all the light, which communicates to your brain that it is not yet time to sleep. Our bodies are designed to become sleepy as night approaches, so when we use our phones, this negates our natural biological tendencies and keeps us up. Same thing goes for the morning. Stay away from your phone, do your usual routine, and after about 30 minutes feel free to browse the news, make instagram posts, whatever. To ensure you will be off your phone, what I do is I turn it on silent, and I leave it in the leaving room. It’s out of my reach before and after bed, thus I don’t feel so inclined to grab it. I noticed my eyes feel less strained, and my thoughts are less clouded throughout the day.
2. Read Before Bed
This will knock you out. Reading already has a ton of benefits to it, and one of them is that it will make you sleepy! Once I put my phone away for the day, I crack open whatever book I’m reading and I read until I start to feel myself taking long blinks and resting my eyes. This keeps your mind busy before bed too! While reading in the morning isn’t as realistic, this is a great way to get your mind going. Also – reading is just great for you in general. Pick up something neat from Barnes and Noble and challenge yourself.
Tea is a natural, relaxing drink that calms the body. After a difficult day, tea hits the spot and gets the body ready to pass out after a long day. In combination with reading, this will get your body relaxed, while the reading gets your mind relaxed. You will naturally feel incredibly tired after about 30 minutes of reading. Just sip the tea and enjoy your reading.
Exercise, like reading, offers a ton on of benefits. Exercise leads to an increase in mood, more energy overall, and it increases quality of sleep! For me personally, I’m a runner. I tend to to run 6 miles every other day. On the days that I run, I absolutely crash. On top of everything I listed above, running will always wear my body out physically, and I just crash as soon as I hit the bed. Of course, exercise is time consuming, and I know not everyone is a runner, but there’s plenty of alternatives! You can do yoga, lift weights, even go for a walk! Anything that involves moving your body and expending energy is good for your quality of sleep.
5. Hot Shower
Like exercise, a hot shower before bed can relax the body before bed. What I tend to do is read with tea first, then take a hot shower before jumping into bed. I’ve done it the other way around before though and the results are good too! Either way, just giving your body the chance to discharge is great for knocking out. You’ll feel incredible in the morning too!
I don’t expect everyone to implement every single one of these changes, especially not right away, but even if you do two or three (SPECIFICALLY ditching your phone before and after bed) you will without a doubt feel more rested and awake in the morning. I’ve been doing this for about a month now and I cannot tell you how big the difference is. If I go to sleep now without this routine, I wake up feeling so exhausted and sleepy. As someone in the arts, I feel my creativity takes a massive bullet when I do not sleep well and exercise. Another thing I notice is that I lose the ability to articulate myself in an effective manner. I fumble with my words.
We deserve good sleep. Especially being college students with busy schedules, we need to rest well. While this may seem time consuming and drawn out, especially on top of everything we do on a day to day basis, the positive effects will be worth the time. While it sucks that we must put effort into sleeping well, the benefits are entirely worth it. So try a couple of these tips, you might wake up feeling like a million bucks.