Sleep

Some of the reasons why people don't get enough sleep:

  • A desire to stay up longer and go to bed later
  • Getting too revved up by activities done late at night (computer, phone)
  • Exposure to light can disrupt sleep
  • Too little sleep each night can “over-arouse” a person’s brain
  • Taking medication too late
  • Eating a heavy meal too late
  • Consuming too much sugar or caffeine
  • Depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, traumatic experiences
  • Repetitive stressful thoughts, rumination
  • Consuming alcohol and/or other drugs

Effects of not getting enough sleep:

  • Concentration problems
  • “Drifting off” in class or on the job
  • Shortened attention span
  • Impaired memory
  • Poor decision-making
  • Moodiness and aggression
  • Depression
  • Risk-taking behavior
  • Slower physical reflexes, clumsiness
  • Reduced sports performance
  • Reduced work/school performance
  • Increased absences and lateness
  • Greater number of health problems

Suggestions for Improving Sleep

  • Make your bedroom a comfortable sleep environment: supportive mattress, the “right” pillow, comfortable sheets and blankets
  • Keep the room temperature cool/warm enough
  • Maintain a regular sleep-wake schedule
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other substances that may disrupt your sleep
  • Use your bed for sleeping only; identify a separate place for studying and eating
  • Keep a pad and pencil at your bedside to get stressful thoughts out of your head and onto paper instead; some people find it helpful to make a “to-do list” before getting into bed
  • Establish a calming pre-sleep routine
  • Listen to calming music and/or use lavender as a calming scent; find out what works for you
  • Exercise regularly, but not too soon before going to bed; shoot for earlier in the day
  • Try non-caffeinated herbal tea or warm milk
  • Restrict the amount of fluids consumed before bed to reduce your need to urinate
  • Avoid heavy foods at night, but make sure to eat enough – just not too close to bedtime
  • Keep a sleep log or use an activity tracker to track your progress
  • Take your medications at the right times; discuss questions with your doctor or psychiatric provider
  • Avoid napping too close to your regular bedtime
  • Use light to your advantage by exposing yourself to light during the day and limiting light exposure in the evening; additionally, make sure your room is kept as dark as possible
  • Try going to sleep when you are tired
  • Avoid watching the clock when you are trying to fall asleep

 

Visit the Office of Health Education and Promotion at Health & Wellness (online or in-person)

  • Develop a sleep plan and/or a sleep profile, and receive a free sleep kit
  • Schedule a Sleep Coaching session
  • Schedule a Medical Consultation for sleep
  • Check out apps recommended for improving sleep (e.g., Pillow, Awaken, SleepCycle)

 

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