It is common knowledge, that getting enough sleep is crucial for human beings, as it assures their overall well-being. However, most students, like myself, often struggle to attain adequate sleep due to social media usage, academic responsibilities, or social engagements. This often results in irregular sleep patterns, as we end up disrupting our natural sleep cycle. Often, there’s a lack of awareness regarding the importance of prioritizing sleep, with some students believing they can function optimally on minimal rest. However, this misconception can lead to long-term negative consequences for their health and academic performance.
As an exchange student living independently, this academic semester I faced this challenge myself. I was slipping into a routine where I’d go to bed in the mornings, only to wake up well into the late afternoons. This pattern left me feeling utterly unproductive, which started to have a detrimental impact on my mood and productivity. Sound familiar? Maybe you’re nodding along, feeling the exhaustion of sleepless nights that trickle into moody mornings. If so, you’re not alone. I understood that addressing these challenges and promoting healthy sleeping habits was essential for improving my well-being, which is why I became determined to solve and prioritize my inconsistent sleep patterns. Through my journey, I’ve discovered practical strategies that can help anyone drowning in the problems of sleep troubles. Whether you’re a student navigating the whirlwind of academics or simply someone seeking a good night’s rest, I’ve gathered valuable insights that helped me to not only improve my academic importance but also the quality of my life.
Let me be clear, I’m not a professional sleep expert, psychiatrist, psychologist, or neurologist. These are just some insights that helped me personally, which I’d like to share, however, I highly encourage seeking professional advice if your sleep issues are more severe and keep persisting.
Determine the target of your sleep problems
Quality sleep directly influences memory consolidation, learning, and information retention. Students who sleep well tend to perform better academically, retaining information more effectively. This is why the first step and most crucial step in helping to navigate your sleep struggles is to find the root issue of what may be causing it. Are you under a lot of academic stress that is making you feel helpless and keeps you up at night? Or are you addicted to using your phone at night and can’t picture going to bed without scrolling through social media? Perhaps you are going out a lot during the late night hours, coming late home only to sleep a few hours and wake up tired? By finding out the root cause of your irregular sleep patterns, you will gain a clearer understanding of how to navigate these issues and what path to take to fix them.
Pay attention to how much sleep your body needs every night
Have you ever noticed that your body tends to wake up naturally after a certain amount of time? When I was trying to improve my sleep schedule, I noticed that whatever time I ended up going to sleep, I was always waking up after 8 hours. Knowing this information helped me to plan my days ahead and determine by what time I have to be in bed to feel well-rested for the next day. Establishing a consistent sleep schedule became the backbone of my routine, as setting a regular bedtime and wake-up time, even on weekends, helped regulate my body’s internal clock.
Make sure to stay active throughout your day
Staying up and being active from the early morning will ensure that your body will feel tired by the end of the evening. Whether you’re a student, who attends lectures all day long or you have a lot of errands to do during the day, use them to your advantage. If your routine is not as active, add more activities or hobbies, such as exercise that will keep you on your feet for the day. Exercise plays a pivotal role in helping to manage irregular sleep patterns, as it incorporates physical activity, boosts your energy, and enhances your ability to fall asleep faster.
Limit the usage of social media during the night
One of my biggest issues in managing my sleep patterns was to limit my screen time during the night. I couldn’t fall asleep during the night, as I was constantly thinking and feeling stressed. I used social media as a way to escape my thoughts, which only ended up causing more problems later on. When I was limiting my screen time, instead of lurking on social media, I opted for more relaxing options, such as ASMR videos, meditations, or listening to calming music that helped me to empty my mind before going to sleep.
Opt for foods that are easy to digest and warm beverages before you go to sleep
Choosing light, easily digestible foods and warm beverages before bedtime can create an optimal environment for restful sleep by reducing discomfort and supporting digestion. As for beverages, I am a huge fan of caffeine and would drink it even in the evenings. However, when improving my sleep patterns, I turned to drinking teas, such as chamomile, which is known for its calming effects, or peppermint, which helps with digestion.
It is important to mention that regulating your sleep schedule is not a matter of a day or a week. Establishing an efficient routine requires effort, patience, and consistency, as it can take months or even years to improve your sleep patterns. There will be days, that won’t be as successful, but the most important thing is to continue with your routine if you want to see genuine results. Whether it means going out less at night or staying away from drinking alcohol, setting up a successful sleep routine is rewarding, as it will improve the quality of each area in your life.
To conclude, did my newly established routine work? Absolutely. Not only did my sleep improve, but I started to feel more alert during the day, my productivity improved and my academic performance experienced a boost. Remember, these tips are based solely on my personal experience. Each individual’s sleep journey will be unique, and consulting with professionals in sleep or mental health is crucial for sleep issues. However, these simple adjustments might just be the first essential steps towards a more fulfilling night’s sleep.