Hello! I hope everyone’s having a lovely Easter holiday so far!
(I apologise for having written no blog posts last month but I was so swamped with work and deadlines, second year is hitting me hard).
I find so many people at university neglect their sleep completely and do not put it as a priority. I personally find it very difficult to get on productively and focus throughout a day where I’ve not had enough sleep the day before. Sleep is really important for your health and wellbeing – a lack of sleep can cause a variety of problems and cause you to be more stressed and anxious. One all-nighter here and there won’t harm you, but consistently getting few hours of sleep is quite bad.
For me, I’ve always had trouble with sleep, so this is a topic that only affects some people, but I’ve found a lot of other people at university share my struggles or struggle a lot more than I do. Last year, I found it very difficult to sleep in halls and I was barely getting enough sleep throughout the week and slept in loads during the weekend. And this ended up really affecting my mood as I just constantly felt tired and I couldn’t keep up with uni work. I found my main issue was that I cannot sleep with noise and the walls in halls are incredibly thin (I have the same issue in my house now).
If you’re having trouble with sleep and have noticed that it’s become more of an issue since coming to university, I thought I’d share some things that have helped me in my own experience.
- Stress and Work If I go to sleep stressed, or after I’ve been working/studying a lot on a big piece of work, I find it a lot more difficult to sleep, and this is what I usually did last year; moved from my desk to my bed. This year, I’ve tried to study earlier in the day and if I’m studying at night, I make sure I give myself an hour before going to bed to do anything else (Netflix, read my book, listen to music etc.) That way your brain is a bit more relaxed and you’d be able to settle into sleep easier.
- Bed-Time Routine This year I’ve picked up a set bed-time routine which helps get your mind used to a routine that leads to your bed and those Zzzs. A routine can make a difference and it certainly has for me – I cannot really explain why, maybe it’s a psychological thing but once I’m following the process of getting into bed, my mind starts to slowly switch off.
- Herbal Remedies Last year, around exam time, I had to resort to herbal sleeping pills to help me sleep, but I’d suggest talking to someone about this first before resorting to this. Alternatively, Pukka make this great ‘Night Time’ tea which I’d highly recommend. It doesn’t necessarily make you feel sleepy, but it really does help relax you. If you’re feeling like you’re struggling to sleep, make a cup of that while sitting in bed and Netflixing or reading and it can really help.
- Earphones/Earplugs I’ve slept with earphones for years and would have music on really low volume playing in the background. Recently, I’ve used earplugs instead and found it to be much better for me as it just means I don’t need music to sleep. I don’t need them whenever I’m home but at uni, there’s so much noise coming through the walls that I cannot do without them. You can easily find them in most shops and they’re inexpensive.
- Exercise Yes, exercise can help your sleep! Not sure about the exact biological reasons but I just know that exercising in a day can help you get to sleep easier. Exercise just has all those good health benefits – even just taking a walk could help!
- Stay away from caffeine.. Caffeine will make your sleeping routine really difficult. I personally don’t drink coffee and stick to tea but will switch to decaffeinated teas past 6pm (Lemon and Ginger tea is great AND decaffeinated). If you’re a coffee drinker and need it to get on with your day, I’m not telling you to quit it completely, just make sure you don’t drink it past a certain time if you want to get to bed earlier (or any of those energy drinks, especially Red Bull).
- See your GP/Mental Health Your lack of sleep and struggles could be a MUCH bigger problem. It’s hard to recognise this but if absolutely nothing is working for you, it might be worth seeing your GP about it. It might be part of a bigger problem or you might be suffering from some form of insomnia. There is nothing wrong with seeing a professional about this as you should be making sure you are taking care of yourself and doing what’s best for you.
And that’s it! I hope these helped and that you’re all catching up with all that missed sleep because of end of term deadlines now that it’s Easter. I hope everyone’s enjoying their much needed holiday!
– Rana xx