Medical Program Assistant | Mental Health Services
Sleep is an amazing thing.
It helps you perform better on exams and improves concentration and energy levels. Rest helps your body fight off infections and can improve your mood and reduce anxiety and stress. Sleep keeps your body feeling good and can help prevent cravings and mood fluctuations. So, if there is one thing you need during finals week, it’s sleep. Unfortunately, sleep is the first thing students usually give up during exams. Since we know it is hard to fit sleep into your study schedule, here are a few tips to help you catch some quality ZZZs.
- Spending all your time inside, like at the library, away from natural light can affect your energy levels during the day and make your brain think it is time to sleep. Let your brain know what time of day it is. Try to take your study breaks outside in sunlight. Let as much light into your home/workspace as possible. Keep curtains and blinds open during the day, and try to move your desk closer to the window.
- Bright lights at night—especially from hours spent in front of the TV or computer screen—can suppress your body’s production of melatonin and make it harder to sleep. Avoid electronics – laptops, tablets, smart phones, etc. – before going to bed.
- Set an alarm clock – but as a bedtime reminder. Setting a time to go to bed will make it less likely that you’ll need an alarm in the morning. If you need an alarm clock to wake up feeling rested, you're not sleeping enough.
- Postpone worrying and brainstorming. Try keeping a diary or to-do lists. If you jot notes down before you go to sleep, you’ll be less likely to stay awake worrying or stressing. If you wake during the night feeling anxious about something, make a brief note of it solve it tomorrow. Similarly, if a great idea is keeping you awake, make a note of it and fall back to sleep knowing you’ll be much more productive and creative after a good night’s rest.
- Be smart about napping. Taking a nap can be a great way to recharge if you’re sleep-deprived, but it can make insomnia worse. If insomnia is a problem for you, consider eliminating napping. If you need a nap, do it in the early afternoon, and stick to a twenty to thirty minutes power nap.
- The temperature of your bedroom also affects sleep. Keep your room cool. Most people sleep best in a slightly cool room with adequate ventilation. A bedroom that is too hot or too cold can interfere with quality sleep.
- Stay away from big meals at night. Avoid heavy, rich foods within two hours of bed. They take a lot of work for you to digest and may keep you awake. Also be cautious when it comes to spicy or acidic foods in the evening, as they can cause stomach trouble and heartburn. Similarly, drinking too many liquids may result in frequent bathroom trips throughout the night. Caffeinated drinks, which act as diuretics, make things worse.
- If you need help relaxing, try aromatherapy. The smell of lavender, sandalwood, rosemary and chamomile have a calming effect. Try a lotion, soap or even tea that have these smells.
Good luck on finals Badgers. And remember to Study Strong!