BY Katie Vicary

Have you been going to bed exclusively at 3 am every night? 

Do you keep telling your friends that you need to fix your sleep schedule? Do you feel personally attacked when someone has a healthy sleep schedule? Well, in this article I will be outlining 5 handy tips for improving your sleep so you can spend more time on things that really matter… YouTube and Netflix.

Sleep Environment

There are a couple of things you can do to ensure your bedroom is set up for a good night’s sleep. The first is making sure your room is dark, adhering to your internal body clock. You can use blinds, curtains or even a sleep mask to block out any lights. Also, unfortunately, using your phone or laptop right before you sleep really isn’t helping because the screen light is telling your body to stay awake rather than sleep.

The second is temperature. Generally, it is believed that a cooler room contributes to better sleep so given the current temperatures, perhaps investing in a small fan might help you out.

Finally, decrease noise levels. This seems obvious but trust me it can really affect your sleep (I’m particularly sensitive to noise at night). It can be a hard one to achieve but using noise ear plugs or even just telling your family to shut up can do wonders.

Reduce Caffeine

I know this sounds difficult for university students who are essentially living off caffeine but hear me out. Caffeine is used to keep you awake, right? So, naturally it’s going to affect your ability to fall asleep if you have too much or have it too close to bedtime. You don’t have to cut out caffeine entirely but try drinking a bit less and not drinking it after a certain time. You could also try a herbal tea or sleepy tea instead if you still want a warm drink before bed.

Healthy Diet

I know, this one makes me sad as well, but a good diet and regular exercise can help improve your sleep. Aside from this, a heavy meal before bed can negatively affect your sleep. At the same time, going to bed hungry can be just as disruptive. I’ve done both and can confirm this.  

Now, exercise. I won’t try to convince you that it helps because I think we all deep down know it will (even if we don’t admit it), rather, I encourage you to find some form of exercise that you enjoy. Whether that be going to the gym, a team sport, running or Chloe Ting workouts (we stan). Any form of exercise is good for you and can help improve your sleep.

Bed Association

What does your bed mean to you? If your bed is a space where you do more than sleep or have sex, you are associating your sleeping space with too many activities. These are ways of telling your body to stay alert in bed rather than to go to sleep. It’s a similar effect as watching videos or playing games in your study/workspace. Once you start associating your bed with such activities it becomes difficult to dissociate them. Thus, try to limit your bed to just sleeping and sex. It might be a difficult achievement all at once but if you try cutting back slowly over time it will help in the long term.

Bedtime Routine

This will come in a different form for everyone but generally it’s a routine which helps you wind down and relax. This could be a skincare routine, reading a book, gentle music, a warm bath or shower, meditation and so on. There are many sleep meditations tracks you can find on YouTube to help relax your mind and body. Another quick technique I sometimes use if sleep just isn’t coming is simply to count. Boring I know but sometimes the sheer boring, repetitive nature of it helps me calm down and focus on one thing. It’s hard at first so you have to just keep bringing your attention to the numbers. You might find you bore yourself to sleep.

Now, grab a cozy blanket and happy sleeping (if you are a university student, you need it)!

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