From wild parties to all-nighters spent “studying” with your friends, the parts of college that are most fun also tend to be most disruptive to your sleep. Throw in roommates with different schedules, fire alarms in the middle of the night and general stress—and it’s amazing college students get any sleep at all.
It’s certainly a tough atmosphere, especially for freshmen not used to the environment, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept a poor sleep schedule. Even if you’re sharing a room and living in a dorm, there are several things you can do to ensure you get a sound sleep—maybe not every night, but most nights.
Although fitting in quality sleep is important for both your health and success at college, it’s equally important to have a few late nights every once in a while. Enjoying time with your friends is important for your mental health and a handful of late nights won’t ruin your GPA.
For those nights you need a good rest, we turned to doctors and experts on sleep who shared their best advice for students seeking shut-eye. Their simple tips are sure to help even the most stressed-out, sleep-deprived student get a good night’s rest. Check out their simple tips for getting some quality sleep at college.
You Can’t Make Up for Missed Sleep
Maybe you were up late last night cramming for an exam and now that you have an afternoon free, you’re considering taking a nap to make up a few hours of sleep, but that’s not the best idea. “Many people who have insomnia will attempt to compensate by sleeping in late on weekends or by napping excessively in daytime,” said Dr. Jose Colon, founder of Paradise Sleep and award-winning author of The Sleep Diet, A Novel Approach to Insomnia. A good analogy, he says, is not eating candy before dinner, as it would spoil your appetite. “Sleeping in late or taking long naps to try to compensate for poor sleep is like ‘sleep candy’ that ruins your appetite for your healthy sleep.”
Don’t Stress Over Sleep
“Some people have difficulty sleeping because something is bothering them—and what is bothering them is that they have difficulty sleeping,” said Colon of the vicious cycle of sleeplessness. “The more you stress about not sleeping, the more awake you will be.” If you’re having trouble getting to sleep, try getting up and reading or writing, it will take your mind off your inability to sleep, allowing you to relax into a sleepy state.