Tips to Help College Students Sleep

Small Things Can Make a Big Difference

Female student sleeping on sofa
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College students and sleep don't often go together. In fact, when things get stressful, sleep is often the first thing to get trimmed from the to-do list of many college students. So when you finally do find the time to sleep, how can you make sure you can sleep well?

Use Earplugs

They're cheap, they're easy to find at any drugstore (or even the campus bookstore), and they can block out the noise from your residence hall -- and your noisy, snoring roommate.

Make Things Dark

True, your roommate may need to be up all night writing the paper, but ask him or her to use a desk lamp instead of the main light for the room. Or, if you're crashing in the afternoon, close the blinds to help darken the room.

Listen to Relaxing Music (Softly)

Sometimes, turning out the outside world can be challenging. Try listening to some relaxing music to help you focus on calming down instead of everything going on around you.

Appreciate the Sound of Silence

While music can help, silence can sometimes be even better. Turn off your phone, turn off the music, turn off the DVD you wanted to watch as you fall asleep.

Exercise

Being physically healthy can help you sleep better, too. Try to get some exercise during the day -- not too close to when you want to sleep, of course, but even a brisk walk to your morning classes for 30 minutes in the morning will help you later that night.

Avoid Caffeine in the Afternoon

That cup of coffee you had at 4:00 p.m. could very well be keeping you up 8 hours later. Try water, juice, or any other caffeine-free option instead.

Avoid Energy Drinks

Sure, you needed that energy boost to make it through your evening class. But getting some exercise or eating a piece of fruit would have worked better than that energy drink -- and not kept you from sleeping later.

Eat Healthy

If your body is in a funk, it can be hard to sleep at night. Remember what your mama taught you and focus more on fruits, vegetables, water, and whole grains than coffee, energy drinks, fried food, and pizza.

Lower Your Stress

It may seem like Mission: Impossible, but reducing your stress can help you sleep. If you can't lower your overall stress level, try finishing a project or task -- no matter how small -- before you crawl into bed. You can feel accomplished instead of stressed about all you have to do.

Relax for a Few Minutes Before Going to Bed

Reading your cell phone, checking email, texting friends, and doing all kinds of brain-busy tasks can interfere with your ability to truly relax and rewind. Try reading a magazine for a few minutes, meditating, or just resting quietly with no electronics -- you might be surprised at how quickly you end up catching some zzzzz's.