Between a new roommate, new bed, new noises, new freedoms and no parents, managing a good sleep schedule can be one of the hardest lessons to learn in college.
That's why getting a good night's sleep should be the first lesson college students learn to adjust to dorm life.
“A bad night’s sleep or chronically not getting enough sleep can affect every aspect of our lives,” said Dr. Aneesa Das, assistant director of the The Ohio State University sleep medicine program.
“It can affect how we perform in school, our immunity and our emotions. When we’re tired, we’re more prone to infections, more likely to get into arguments and less likely to participate in activities we enjoy.”
Das regularly meets with students living on campus at The Ohio State University to help them understand why sleep is so important, and to provide tips for enjoying college life and getting enough sleep.
She tells students to resist the urge to procrastinate and pull an all-nighter.
“When you are sleepdeprived, you don’t think as clearly. Staying up all night to study can backfire and affect performance on exams,” Das said. “If you can’t avoid an all-nighter, do it strategically by getting a good night’s sleep before and after.”
Here are other sleep tips Das shares with college students:
● Aim for a room that’s cool, dark and quiet at night – like a cave.
● Avoid trying to sleep with devices such as TVs, computers, tablets and phones on. They emit a blue light that disrupts sleep. If your roommate still needs to work, try using eye shades.
● Finish up work and allow yourself about 30 minutes to calm down before bed.
● In the morning, get bright light as soon as you wake up. This will help you be alert for those 8 a.m. classes.
● Exercise during the day can help the body wind down for sleep at night.
● Don’t rely on pills to get you to sleep or caffeine to keep you going. Both can mask a bigger sleep problem.
● If you nap, do it before 4 p.m. and sleep no more than 30 minutes to avoid sleep inertia.