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On Your Way to Meaningful Sleep

Let’s talk about something we all can improve – our sleeping habits.

Understanding your sleep is important to getting more out of your day. Even though you may have just as many things going on during the summer months, this time of year is optimal to test and implement better sleep patterns for when the classes pick back up in the fall.  Here are some tips to consider for more meaningful sleep.

texting in bed

Tip #1: Figure out your current sleep patterns

Knowing where you are now can help you realistically set goals with your sleep. Track your sleeping habits for the next week and review what time you are going to get up, and if you are waking up at anytime during your sleep. It could also be beneficial to record how long it takes you to fall asleep each night.

If you have an iPhone, you can use your Sleep Cycle app to help monitor your sleep patterns. This app tracks your sleep stages based on the sounds you make. After you spend a few days tracking your sleep, visit their website to see if you are having regular or irregular sleep patterns. Once you feel you have recorded a few accurate days of what your sleep schedule is like, take a look at the data and see if you are satisfied with your current habits.

texting in bed

Tip #2: Figure out your time of day

Maybe you already enjoy the fullness of life and still maintain the appropriate amount of sleep. Or maybe you are still trying to find ways to improve your sleep patterns with the hectic schedule and demands of your day. One way to find a matching sleep pattern for your life is to organize it to work with your schedule. Are you a night owl or do you prefer to be an early bird? Set up your sleep schedule so that it coordinates with the time of day that your brain is the most awake.texting in bed

Tip #3: Learn which supplemental activities can improve your sleep

Did you know there are environmental factors you can manipulate to help your body get more effective sleep or wake up faster. Try these helpful tricks based on what you are trying to improve.

  • If you typically have trouble getting up in the morning and staying alert, try taking some time out of your morning to engage in an outdoor activity. Our bodies have an internal clock that can be triggered by the sun letting us know that it’s time for our body to become more alert.
  • Exercising also gives your body more energy. Though this may seem counterintuitive, the release of endorphins in your body causes you to gain energy when you need it during the day and feel more rested at the end of the day when it’s time to sleep. Therefore, exercising routinely can help stabilize your sleep so you feel more rested.
  • Taking short power naps throughout the day can help you get through the remaining hours while not compromising your nighttime rest. Try a 45 or 90-minute nap, but beware; naps can be very tricky. If you oversleep, you can wake up feeling even more tired. Set an alarm clock for 45 minutes or 90 minutes but not a time in between. If you continue finding it hard to sleep during the night then it could be best to eliminate naps altogether.

texting in bed

Tip #4 Check your conditions

Eliminate distractions when you go to sleep by making your room dark. Not having the stimulation of light can help your internal clock be convinced that it is time to hit the hay.

As a bonus, do some experimenting to figure out the conditions that you best sleep in. This could include the temperature of your room, how manys blankets you prefer and the noise levels you find tolerable to sleep. You may find that you go to sleep quicker listening to soothing noises or alpha waves. Take some time to experiencement for a couple of nights to see what works best for you.

texting in bed

Tip #5: Clear your head before you lay down

Take some time to shuffle through and clear the thoughts you have in your head before you lay down. Going to sleep stressed can prevent a full night’s rest because your brain is still active. To help your brain (calm down), take the time to sort your thoughts before you hop in bed.

texting in bed

Sleep is important, especially during your college years. Learning how your body works and how to best maximize sleep can help you get more meaningful rest each night. Keep in mind the night routine you develop now may need some tweaking along the way as enviromental factors change. Sleep tight and catch some major Z’s.

texting in bed