For many students, college is the first step into adulthood—and the first taste of freedom. College gives students the opportunity to explore the world as independent adults and to develop their own individual habits and identities.
That freedom, however, can prove taxing and difficult to manage, especially when it comes to getting enough sleep. Studies show that 60% of college students maintain poor sleep habits, and 10% suffer from insomnia.
You probably already know how important it is to get enough rest. But if you’re struggling to fit in enough hours of good-quality sleep, then it may be time to remember why you should be prioritizing shut-eye—and how you can deal with problems that may be preventing you from getting to bed on time.
Coping with New Challenges and Demands on Campus
Everyone needs sleep to meet the challenges and demands of life. College is a huge transition involving new schedules, expectations, and an increased workload, all while making new friends and living away from home.
In addition to academic responsibilities like going to class and studying, college students have a lot on their minds. With dangerous incidents such as hazing and unsafe campus conditions, students also face the challenge of navigating a new social environment that’s exciting, but also full of hazards.
If these challenges are keeping you up at night, try these sleep hacks so you can recharge and wake up ready to take on the day.
1. Schedule Your Day Around the Best Version of You
Did you hate getting up for high school before the crack of dawn? Now that you have more control over your schedule, it’s time to start paying more attention to how your sleep schedule affects your performance.
As a college student, you have the option to schedule your day around the best version of yourself. If you’re most awake at 10 AM and it’s almost impossible to drag yourself out of bet at 6 AM, try to plan your class schedule accordingly. By planning your schedule based on when you feel most awake and productive, you’ll be able to learn more effectively and get the sleep you need.
2. Visit the Student Wellness Center
Many students don’t take advantage of the many resources their campuses offer for student wellness. If you’re having trouble managing your responsibilities while getting enough sleep or you’re having insomnia, then visiting the student wellness center might be a good move.
You should also think about visiting a school counselor if you’re experiencing anxiety or depression due to the pressures of going to college. Many, many college students have experienced overwhelming anxiety at some point (almost 3 out of 4!) and you should never feel ashamed about seeking out help. Talking with a professional can help you manage your life and help you sleep.
3. Get Into a Routine
When you’re on your own for the first time, it’s easy to start going to bed and getting up at different times, just because you can. However, this won’t help you sleep and can make you feel overwhelmed and frazzled.
From day one on campus, try to establish a consistent sleep and wake-up routine. Go to bed at the same time every night and wake up at the same time every morning if you can. This will help you maintain more control over your life, improve your health, and help prevent sleep problems like insomnia or trouble falling asleep and getting up.
4. Take It Easy on the Caffeine!
When you have a lot of studying to coffee and other caffeinated beverages might seem like a necessity. But you should try to limit your caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and evening if you’re having trouble getting enough sleep.
Even if caffeine doesn’t make you feel wide awake by bedtime, the effects can last for up to 8 hours. It can also reduce the quality of your sleep.
5. Unplug to Unwind
Your phone might feel like an extension of you, but it’s also probably hurting your ability to get a good night’s sleep. Your body can’t create enough melatonin for healthy sleep if you’re staring at a screen right before you go to bed. With this in mind, it’s important to shut off your devices at least an hour before bed.
Sleep Will Make You Happier, Healthier, and More Successful in College
If you want to do well in college, remember that it’s not just about how many hours of studying you put in—it’s about how many hours of sleep you get. If you give your body a chance to rest and recharge, you’ll feel better and you’ll be able to concentrate more fully on your academics.
And remember, if you’re having trouble managing the demands of college life, don’t be afraid to reach out to a professional for help! You don’t have to do it all alone.