Sleepless Nights: Do’s and Don’ts

As university students, many of us become used to nights with little or no sleep due to studying, finishing assignments, and partying all night.

We have all experienced the effects of sleepless nights. Many of us do not recognise the purpose and the importance of sleep, and how a good night’s sleep can affect our day-to-day lives.

Someone Sleeping - Ammentorp PhotographySleep is the body’s way of rejuvenating itself. It helps replenish the energy stores we have depleted throughout the day, as well as give our organs the opportunity to rest. Lack of sleep can lead to deficiencies in concentration, reaction time and overall alertness.

How often do you wake up after several hours of sleep and wonder why you still feel tired?  The best way to determine if you are getting enough sleep is by how you feel the next day. If you wake up irritable, tired and unenergetic, you probably are not getting all of the sleep you need. One good night of sleep will make up for several nights of lost sleep. Typically, an average person sleeps seven to eight hours each night.

There are a few things you can do to help yourself get a better night sleep, so I have compiled a list on how to do so.

1. Avoid regular exercise at bedtime. Although physical activity is very good, exercising before bedtime may actually make it more difficult to go to sleep.

2. Finish eating a large meal a minimum of three hours before going to bed (this will also help you to keep the weight off)

3. Have a set bed time (it’s always good to have a routine).

4. Avoid caffeine and nicotine in the evening.

5. Try not to study or watch TV in your bedroom.

6. Keep your bedroom cool, dark and noise-free.

7. Make sure you have a nice comfy bed!

8. If something is playing on your mind, try writing it down to keep it off your mind for the night.

9. If you are unable to sleep, get out of bed and engage in something until you feel sleepy again

10. It is important to realise that sleep is just as important for your health as exercise and nutrition.

And remember; don’t even think of pulling an all-nighter before an exam. Last-minute cramming refuses to sink in, because the consolidation of memories occurs during deep sleep.

 

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Samantha Atherton

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