Are you a student? If so, you would probably agree that most students don’t get enough sleep due to those assignments, homework and midnight oil sessions. We had to sacrifice our precious sleep for studies, and even if holidays are here, we tend to be busy with activities and camps from school.
“What is sleep?”
I know. I’ve been there.
Last week, I shared with all of you some ways to overcome homesickness and so I thought – why not expand it and try to solve problems that students might also be facing?
Getting sleep might seem impossible when you’re wide awake at night or trying to stay awake to finish up your work. However, you actually have much more control over the quality of sleep you get.
WHY IS QUALITY SLEEP SO IMPORTANT?
Sleep plays an essential role in your physical health. You probably want to perform at your best state during studies. But studying all the time and not resting isn’t the way to go.
If you sacrifice sleep for studies, not only will you not perform as well as if you have sufficient sleep, you will also be putting your health at risk.
That doesn’t sound like a good idea, right?
Sleep deficiency can result in some of the following problems:
- A decrease in concentration and productivity
- Increased risk of weight gain
- Increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke
I struggled with insomnia the past few weeks due to stress and anxiety, but after implementing some of the tips I’m going to share with you in a couple moments, I find myself going to sleep much easier (although it still takes a while for me to actually fall asleep).
Always be reminded that health is one of the most important aspects of life. Studies can come in second. I cannot emphasize this enough, please, PLEASE, do not ever let studies deteriorate your physical well-being.
SO HOW CAN I GET MORE QUALITY SLEEP?
1. DRINK CHAMOMILE TEA
According to Dietitian Anshul Jaibharat, chamomile tea helps to promote sleep and treat insomnia as it relaxes nerves and soothes the nervous system.
Some other benefits include:
- Boosts immunity
- Treats cold
- Reduces muscle pain and period pain
- Soothes stomachache
- Reduces stress
- Lightens skin
- Reduces acne
You want to avoid alcohol and caffeinated beverages before going to sleep as they will keep you awake. So, avoid them for 4 hours before going to sleep.
I don’t drink chamomile tea because I don’t like the taste of it when I first tried it. Plus, a box of chamomile tea (about 20 sachets) in my country costs around $7 SGD! That’s really expensive come to think about it, if you buy a year’s worth of that tea it would cost $84 SGD, for tea!
2. WORK TOGETHER WITH YOUR SLEEP CYCLE
AVOID NAPPING THROUGHOUT THE DAY
This one is easy for me since I don’t nap. But for some people, it might be a difficult habit to break. I understand though since you’ve gone through such a tiring day in school, all you want to do when you reach home is sleep.
However, if you nap throughout the day, your body will get used to it and you’ll find yourself wide awake at night.
“But Yue Xuan, I really really need to nap. So what can I do about it?”
No worries, if you really have to nap, then try to nap for maximum 20 minutes a day in the early afternoon.
WAKE UP AND GO TO SLEEP AROUND THE SAME TIME
As much as possible, try to sleep at the same timing every day. Choose the timing where you tend to find yourself being tired or the timing you want to achieve.
Your body will adapt to the sleeping cycle and you’ll find it easier to sleep at night. You will know that you had quality sleep when you can wake up by yourself without the need of an alarm.
3. CREATE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT WORKS FOR YOU
The environment plays a huge role in affecting your sleep. A cluttered area would probably result in less-quality sleep as opposed to a comfortable and clean area. You want to create an environment which is sleep-inducing (not the opposite!).
KEEP THE NOISE LEVEL DOWN
Minimize the noise level in your room. This will help you set the mood to sleep since loud noises would probably keep you awake (unless you’re a really deep sleeper and you can sleep pretty much anywhere!).
SLEEP IN A SLIGHTLY COOLER ROOM
Most people find it easier to sleep in a slightly cooler room. You probably won’t be able to sleep if you’re sweating because it’s too hot or freezing cold because it’s too cold. Find the temperature which works for you and your body.
LIMIT YOUR EXPOSURE TO LIGHT AT NIGHT
According to HelpGuide.org, Melatonin is a hormone controlled by light exposure. It helps to regulate your sleep and wake cycle. Your brain secretes more Melatonin when it’s dark which makes you sleepy, and less when there’s light which makes you more alert. Hence, try to expose yourself to bright light in the morning and early afternoons.
4.EXERCISE DURING THE DAY
If you exercise during the day, you’ll feel more energetic and awake throughout the day, which hence prevents you from taking a nap during the later part of the day. You will also sleep better since exercising helps to improve symptoms of insomnia and sleep apnea.
Vigorous exercise is more recommend to be done during the mornings and early afternoons. However, if you want to exercise at the later part of the day, then avoid heavy exercise and aim for lighter exercises such as yoga and stretching (which also helps to promote better sleep!). Try to avoid any form of exercises 4 hours before you go to bed.
5. WIND DOWN AND RELAX
If you find yourself unable to sleep at night, chances are you are thinking way too much for your mind to relax. You might be stressed, worried, anxious or angry about certain things but do not let these stimulate your brain and make it much more difficult for you to sleep.
I tend to find myself awake at night when my mind is thinking about certain things (I’m actually thinking about what to eat the next morning, haha).
Don’t think about what to eat until the next day actually comes. You’ll be so hungry and you won’t be able to sleep knowing that your warm cup of Milo and croissant won’t be at your table the next morning.
This, my friends, is based on my experience. It’s so hard.
Let’s summarize what I’ve shared with you today.
If you want to get better sleep during your holidays, you can:
- Drink chamomile tea
- Work together with your sleep cycle
- Avoid napping throughout the day
- Wake up and go to sleep around the same time
- Create an environment that works for you
- Keep the noise level down
- Sleep in a slightly cooler room
- Limit your exposure to light at night
- Exercise during the day
- Wind down and relax
Next time, if you’re ever facing problems regarding sleep, just look through my tips again and try to implement them little by little. I’m sure even a little goes a long way!
These are tips that I’ve personally tried and they have been working well for me, so you guys should definitely give it a try!