Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Fall Alseep in 15 mins with 7 Simple Tips

It's 2 AM. You've been laying in bed for 2 hours turning from side to side. You've to be up for 9 AM class but your head won't stop buzzing with all the things you need to do tomorrow. 

I've been in this situation many times and getting enough sleep as a college student is a challenge. So here are some simple tips to fall asleep quickly. These techniques have been tested by me. As a Resident Assistant, Student Ambassador, and fourth year student at SVA, I have a lot do to everyday. So I need my sleep. Also, better sleep leads to better decision making. Studies have also shown that people who get enough sleep are more mentally balanced and generally happier. 

1. Journal Before Bedtime.

Write down everything that happened to you that day, all your worries, things you need to do tomorrow. Everything. This technique empties your head ensuring you fall asleep quickly instead of laying awake lost in your thoughts and worries.

2. Establish a Bedtime Routine

Studies have shown that having a bedtime routine prepares the body for sleep. I use a bedtime routine and it makes a difference. For example before I go to bed I do these things in order. Journal, set my coffee maker for easy use in the morning, wash my face, brush my teeth, set my alarms, stretch, and then lay in bed reading until I feel tired. By the time I'm in bed, my eyes are already beginning to droop.

3. Get Screen Light Correction Apps

The blue light on your computer, phone, and television are fooling your brain into thinking it is mid-day. I use Flux (its free and for Apple and Android) which I have downloaded on my computer, phone, and kindle. This app turns my screens yellow after sunset. Studies have shown, staring at a blue screen can cause you to lose several hours of sleep at night because your brain still thinks it's the middle of the day and therefore produces a chemical to keep you awake. Turning your screen yellow tells your brain to produce chemicals to make you fall asleep. 

4. Get Up The Same Time Everyday

Mornings are hard. But your mornings can be easier if you wake up at the same time. Your body works best when it follows a routine. Before I used this tip my sleeping habits were erratic. I'd go to bed at 2 AM, wake up at 11 AM and go to noon class. Then the next night I'd try to go to bed at 12 PM only to lay there for hours, then have to get up for a 9 AM class. To wake up every morning I had to set five different alarms on two separate devices. It took half an hour of alarms going off to get me up on time. Since I decided to stick to a strict bedtime and wake-up time, getting out of bed is a lot easier. I get up the same time everyday, even on weekends. I start my bedtime routine around 11 PM and wake up every morning at 8:30 AM. As a result, I only need one alarm to wake up in the morning, sometimes I wake up on my own at 8 or 8:15. I can concentrate better in class and I am better at managing my time. Sometimes, projects require that I stay up a little late but I always make sure I'm up at 8:30 AM. 

5. Make a Study Schedule

Study schedules are really useful when it comes to managing time. In this case making a study schedule can ensure that you don't have to pull all-nighters to finish a project. Staying up all night can mess with your ability to sleep as well as your emotional balance. 

6. Invest in an Eye Mask and Earplugs 

Blocking out sound and light when you're sleeping is key for staying asleep. When you fall asleep your body goes through cycles of deep sleep and light sleep. Sometimes during those periods of light sleep a sound or a flash of light can fully wake you up and keep you up. Use an eye mask to block out unwanted light and if you can use earplugs to block out unwanted noise. An eye mask also allows for deeper sleep during deep sleep cycles. We live in New York where lights and sounds are happening every time of day and night. However, make sure your earplugs don't block out too much noise or you might not hear your alarm in the morning. 

7. Do A Calming Activity Before Bedtime

I mentioned above that the last thing I do every night is: read until I get tired. For those of you who may not enjoy reading you can listen to calming music or an audiobook. If you have the screen light correction apps on your devices you can watch a movie you've seen before. Doing this will help empty your mind of worries and help you fall asleep quickly. 

I hope these tips help. I use them and I've noticed a difference in my sleeping habits. I've also noticed I'm able to pay attention in class more. Good Luck!

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