Catching Zs and getting degrees

Have you pulled two all nighters in a row? Stayed up until 4 a.m. knowing your alarm goes off in just a few hours? Finally got 8 hours of sleep… over the course of three days? According to the American Sleep Association, 37 percent of 20-39 year olds report short sleep duration. While college students may think that that is just what is “expected” of them to get their work done, skimming on sleep can lead to anxiety, mood swings, depression, irritability, heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and even obesity, according to the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development.

If you’re looking to improve your sleeping routine and pick up a few extra hours of some much needed rest, here are a few things you can do to improve.

Stick to a schedule

Instead of assuming you’ll get sleep whenever you accidentally doze off onto your chemistry textbook, try prioritizing maintaining a set schedule. Determine a bedtime that allows you to get the full amount of sleep you need, and set an alarm for 30 minutes before to get yourself ready. After a while, you’ll find it easier to wake up in the morning, and you’ll feel better rested after a full night’s sleep. If you’re not sure how much sleep you should be getting, check the graphic on the side.

Try aromatherapy

Aromatherapy doesn’t mean you have to go to a special holistic store and buy some fresh herbs— it’s easy to practice in your own apartment. If you’re not on campus, consider going to a store like TJ Maxx or Target to peruse which candle scents they have. Oftentimes, you can find blends formulated specifically to help you sleep better. If you live on campus, try essential oil blends like lavender, bergamot or chamomile. Pop it in a diffuser or rub it on your wrists— just do your research and make sure it’s safe for putting on your skin. Alternatively, head over to a store like Bath & Body Works and test out one of their bed sprays.

Put on some relaxing noise

Lullabies aren’t just for babies— if you’re having trouble falling asleep, consider listening to some relaxing beats, nature sounds or white noise. Spotify has plenty of playlists designed for this exact reason. Just search “sleep,” and you’ll find an entire section with peaceful piano, night rain, acoustic calm, ambient relaxation, white noise, atmospheric calm and so much more. If you have a roommate, either ask them if they mind your music or put on a pair of cordless headphones. Alternatively, stay out in a common area listening until you’re sufficiently relaxed.

Seek professional advice

Sometimes your sleep problems just can’t go away on your own, no matter the amount of exercise you get, the regularity of your schedule or the comfort of your bed. If you’re finding that you can’t get enough sleep or that you’re still feeling exhausted after a full night’s rest, consider consulting a doctor. Feeling constant fatigue could be a sign of a health condition or a sign that what you’re doing to prepare for bed and stay asleep isn’t working.

Information via The National Sleep Foundation

  • Newborns (0-3 months): 14-17 hours
  • Infants (4-11 months): 12-15 hours
  • Toddlers (1-2 years):11-14 hours
  • Preschoolers (3-5): 10-13 hours
  • School age children (6-13): 9-11 hours
  • Teenagers (14-17): 8-10 hours
  • Younger adults (18-25): 7-9 hours
  • Adults (26-64): 7-9 hours
  • Older adults (65+): 7-8 hours

Advice given via The Current is not from a professional. Consult a doctor if you have questions about sleeping.

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