Thinking about pulling that all-nighter? Letting FOMO keep you up too late? You may want to reconsider. Recent research suggests that sleep deprivation affects college students’ academic performance about as much as binge drinking.
Poor sleep habits can do more than harm your GPA. Lack of sleep contributes to higher susceptibility to colds, the flu and other illnesses. You’re also putting yourself at risk for weight gain along with high levels of anxiety and stress.
Not only is sleep essential to your wellbeing, it affects your personal relationships too. Sleep deprivation can heighten conflicts between people and lower levels of relationship happiness.
Remember, if you DON’T snooze, you lose.
Having trouble falling asleep? Tossing and turning all night long? Try these tips to fall asleep and get a good night’s rest.
THE PERFECT ROOM:
The perfect room for sleeping may be very different than what you’d want in a room during the day. To help facilitate sleep:
- Keep the room cool, no more than 70˚
- Make the room as dark as possible, using eyeshades if necessary
- Try to reduce noise as much as possible, or use white noise like a fan to help you fall asleep
- Turn off distractions like the TV or your computer
- Have calming and relaxing scents in your room like chamomile or lavender
WHAT YOU CAN DO:
Even if your room is an ideal sleeping environment, you may not be able to fall asleep. Here are some things you can do during the day that will make your nights more restful:
- Avoid caffeine at least five hours before going to bed
- Avoid nicotine, alcohol, heavy meals and spicy foods within a few hours of bedtime, as these may impact your quality of sleep
- Exercising during the day can help you fall asleep at night, but exercising too close to bedtime may make you more alert
- Eating nutritious, balanced meals and snacks can help facilitate sleep
- A small bedtime snack may also help you fall asleep. Some good choices are milk, bananas, oatmeal and honey
- Establish a bedtime routine so that your body knows it’s time for sleep
IF ALL ELSE FAILS:
If you can’t fall asleep at night, it’s better just to get up rather than stressing about not being able to sleep. Do something that isn’t strenuous, doesn’t involve a screen and is easy to put down like reading a book, listening to relaxing music, or meditating.
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Counseling & Wellness Services
726 Broadway, 4th Floor
Mental health professionals are available to talk 24/7. Visit the website for information and resources on how to get help for yourself or a friend.
Free downloads for guided relaxation exercises, yoga pose references, and information on mindfulness resources.
Columbia University Sleep Disorder Center
710 West 168th Street
Sleep Disorders Institute
423 West 55th Street, 4th Floor
Sleep Medicine Associates of NYC
11 East 26th Street, 13th Floor
Apnea: Literally means “no breath,” the cessation of airflow at the nostrils and mouth for at least 10 seconds.
Arousal Disorder: Parasomnia disorder presumed to be due to abnormal arousal function. Classical disorders include, sleepwalking and sleep terrors.
Biological Clock: The term for the brain process that causes us to have 24-hour fluctuations in body temperature, hormone secretion, and other bodily activities such as sleep.
Circadian Rhythm: Innate, daily, fluctuation of behavioral and physiological functions, including sleep waking, generally tied to the 24 hour day-night cycle but sometimes with different periodicity.
Fatigue: Feeling of tiredness or weariness usually associated with performance decrements.
Insomnia: Complaint describing difficulty in sleeping.
Nap: Short period of planned sleep generally obtained at a time separate from the major sleep period.
Nightmare: Unpleasant and/or frightening dream occurring in REM sleep; not to be mistaken with night terrors.
Night Terrors: Also known as sleep terrors, if an individual is awakened during a night terror, he/she is usually confused and does not remember details of the event. Night terrors are different from nightmares; if an individual is awakened during a nightmare, he/she functions well and may have some recall of the nightmare.
Optimum Sleep: Average amount of sleep needed every night by an individual.
REM Sleep: Rapid eye movement sleep—characterized by the active brain waves, flitting motions of the eyes, and weakness of the muscles; most dreaming occurs in this stage, which accounts for about 20% of sleep in adults.
These apps can help you plan for a good night’s sleep.
SleepBot – Free
A critically acclaimed sleep cycle tracker and smart alarm in which you can customize how you want to sleep and wake up gently each morning during your lightest sleep phase
Relax Melodies – Free
An app that creates a relaxing ambiance with zen sounds and white noise. Lay back, listen, and enjoy falling asleep
Sleep Time – Free
Smart alarm clock that analyzes your sleep and wakes you up at the perfect moment of your lightest sleep phase
Silva Relaxation – Free
A meditation app that helps you de-stress, unwind and relax in preparation for a restful sleep
Sleep Genius – Free
A scientifically designed sound program that uses neurosensory algorithms to help your brain get ready for sleep, guide your brain through each stage in the sleep cycle, and wake you with a gentle, refreshing alarm
White Noise – $1.99
Features ambient sounds of the environment to help you relax during the day and sleep great at night
Sleep Machine – $1.99
Assortment of professionally mastered ambient sounds designed specifically for achieving a total relaxed state and improving sleep. You can mix iPod music with your favorite sounds too
If you're having trouble sleeping, check out the Student Health Center's insomnia workshop, held on the first Wednesday of each month. Click here for more information.