Do you know how much sleep on average you get every night? Are you sleep deprived? How much sleep is enough? It’s likely you don’t know the answers to any of these questions. Getting enough undisturbed sleep is something that a lot of us struggle with but do nothing about. So in light of this, I’m going to explore the truth about sleep and how to improve your sleeping patterns.
As university students, sleep is something that we all love but rarely have time for. A regular sleep pattern is precious. A combination of unbearable 9 am lectures, late-night essay sessions and even later nights in Oceana mean that we don’t always get a good night’s rest. The majority of you are probably not even aware of how much sleep you got last night and how sleep deprived you actually are.
There is a clear correlation between the amount of sleep we get and our cognitive abilities. We need sleep to process information and complete daily tasks effectively and efficiently. As highlighted by Fast Company magazine in their most recent sleep study, people who slept for six hours a night for ten days performed just as badly on cognitive tasks as those participants who got no sleep for two whole days. So if you are only getting around six hours of sleep a night you are in fact sleep deprived, whether you feel it or not.
So if you’re struggling with sleep deprivation or feel like you need to improve your sleep patterns then here are some useful tips:
- Take physical exercise three times a week for twenty minutes. Don’t exhaust yourself and fall into bed as this is not a good strategy. You’re likely to sleep so heavily that when you wake up, you’ll still feel tired. Light exercise in the afternoon will do the trick.
- Eat a balanced diet and make sure your evening meal is around three hours before your head hits the pillow. Sometimes going to bed with a full stomach can make you feel sluggish the next day.
- Restrict your caffeine intake because it stimulates your nervous system. Set a cut-off time on a daily basis where you swap your coffees for teas.
- Try relaxation methods before bed such as having a bath, reading or meditation.
- Store your sleep for the evening and avoid napping during the day. As much as we love it, it is damaging our valuable sleeping schedule!
- Make sure your room is not stuffy as a bedroom that is hotter than 34 degrees Celsius is likely to cause restlessness. Many sites recommend making your room cold before you plan to go to sleep because when you get tucked up in bed, it’s easier to fall asleep when you snuggle up.
- If you find yourself staring at your digital clock watching the minutes tick by when you struggle to sleep, get rid of the clock. You won’t worry yourself about how much time is passing and this will calm you down.
Sleep is something that we should all take seriously. A good night’s sleep can highly influence our cognitive abilities, attitude and outlook on life. Give some of these tips a try and it’s likely that your brain will eternally thank you!