#WeigelWord on Better Sleep Habits

Lexxy Durant, Peer Educator, Weigel Health Promotions

Did you know that May is Better Sleep Month? A lack of quality sleep can lead to a ton of different problems like irritability, inability to concentrate, and a compromised immune system. All of these symptoms can negatively impact your performance in the classroom, yet college campuses run rampant with sleep-deprived zombies. Don’t let the lack of one of your basic human needs get in the way of your success. Here are some tips on what you can do to get the rest you need:

Stay on Schedule

Try to go to bed and wake up around the same times every day (including weekends!). This may seem easier said than done, but after just a few weeks you will find improvements in your ability to fall and stay asleep and will wake up feeling rested and ready to go. Pulling all-nighters might seem like just another part of the college lifestyle, but disrupting your sleep patterns that severely can leave you unable to concentrate, grumpy, and ultimately in a worse position than if you had gone to bed at a reasonable time. To avoid the dreaded all-nighter, get into the habit of doing your work in small portions over a longer period of time rather than cramming.

What you eat & drink matters

Avoid going to bed hungry or overly full. Both can leave you uncomfortable and waking up frequently in the night. Drinking too many liquids before bed leads to those annoying 2am bathroom runs. Nicotine and caffeine are both stimulants, and consuming them within a few hours of bedtime can make it difficult to fall and stay asleep. Alcohol may make you feel sleepy, but in reality it disrupts your body’s ability to get restful sleep.

Make a Routine (and stick to it!)

Doing the same things every time you go to bed helps your brain recognize the cues that it is time to sleep. When you are living in a residence hall and your bed becomes the spot where you do everything from homework to eating dinner, it can be difficult for your brain to differentiate between when it’s time to be active and when it’s time to rest. If you’ve ever had the unfortunate experience of lying in bed trying to get your brain to shut off and stop thinking about that embarrassing time you tripped walking up the stairs 2 years ago, you understand the importance of this. Watch TV (but turn it off before you fall asleep!), read a book or take a nice hot shower at least a half hour before bed. You should also be wary of your cell phone and other electronic devices. Having your phone go off all night because you commented on a video of a puppy is not a good reason to lose sleep.

Get comfortable

This one can be tough while living on campus, but there are ways to improve your sleep environment. Campus mattresses are horrible; if you’re returning in the fall, consider bringing a mattress topper with you. You should also try to make your room as dark and quiet as possible when you are ready to sleep. Our brains weren’t designed to block out flashing lights and sound. Even if you think you’re fine, chances are you are waking up slightly throughout the night without realizing it. If you live with a roommate who stays up late, grab some earplugs or put a fan next to your bed to drown them out. The white noise of a fan helps many people fall and stay asleep when there is background noise around them.

Be careful with naps

Everyone loves a good nap. As awesome as they may feel, they can do more harm than help. If you sleep too much during the day, it can be hard to fall asleep at night. Or you could wake up at 4am ready to go, only to crash again around 2 or 3pm, thus falling into an endless cycle of naps and sleepless nights. The best option is to fight through the daytime sleepiness and go to bed at a healthy hour. If you absolutely must nap, set an alarm and keep it under 30 minutes. If you nap any longer than that you risk waking up feeling groggy.

Get some exercise

Think about the last time you went on a long hike or played in a pool for hours. How did you sleep that night? Getting a good amount of exercise during the day helps your body release excess energy and be ready to sleep at night. However, avoid exercise too close to bed as the endorphins you release can keep you awake!

Manage stress

College is ridiculously stressful. Between your social life and class and that awful group project looming in the distance, everything adds up. Again, this leads to lying awake in bed contemplating if your group member even existed or was just a figment of your imagination (WHERE ARE YOU JOE?!). If stress is keeping you awake, make a list of everything you need to get done and put it in order of most to least important. Work through your days trying to accomplish the top of the list, and don’t freak out if you didn’t get to things at the bottom; bump them up the list for the next day and move on.


Do Your Part, be healthy, and good luck! #weigelword
Lexxy Durant,
Peer Educator, Weigel Health Promotions
Information was gathered from the mayo clinic webpage

Weigel Health Promotions is located in the basement of Porter Hall and provides prevention through education for all Buffalo State students. If you would like to get involved or want more information, visit http://weigel.buffalostate.edu/health-promotion or contact: Paula A. Madrigal, Weigel Health Promotions – Wellness & Prevention Coordinator [email protected] 716-878-4719.