Sleep is essential for good health, mental and emotional functioning, and personal safety.
A college-aged person should get 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
Insufficient sleep can lead to:
- Anxiety – increased levels of anxiety may occur if feeling exhausted and stressed over time
- Depression – sleep disorders are often associated with depression
- Cognitive Difficulties – being able to concentrate, pay attention, and retain information may be more challenging
- Reduced Physical Health – compromised immune system may mean getting sick more frequently
Why Are You Feeling Sleepy?
- Not allowing enough time to sleep - As a student it is important to make sleep be a top priority. Learn how to properly manage your time to allow for a goodnight’s rest.
- Stress – Trying to balance everything can be overwhelming. Practice relaxation techniques and learn about stress management skills to maintain normal stress levels.
- Poor Sleep Hygiene - College students often get less sleep during the week and attempt to make up for it during the weekends. It is important to remember that inconsistent sleep habits can lead to chronic sleep difficulties. Establishing conistent behaviors around sleep is essential for good sleep hygiene.
- Medication – If you are taking medication, know the side effects. If one of the side effects is keeping you from sleeping, make sure you consult with your healthcare provider about the best time of day to take medication or if it is necessary to change your prescription.
- Lack of Exercise – If you are not consistently being physically active, it can affect your energy levels and productivity throughout the day. Exercising early in the day can promote good sleep at night.
What is Sleep Hygiene?
Daily activities that promote normal, quality nighttime sleep and full daytime alertness.
Here are some simple ways to improve your sleep hygiene:
- Develop a bedtime routine: do the same thing every night before going to bed; give yourself about 30 minutes to get ready for bed and unwind from the day; avoid studying right up until bedtime
- Avoid worrying in bed: try journaling to help store your thoughts; engage in relaxation techniques consistently
- Train your body to sleep at night and wake in the morning: go to bed at the same time every night and wake up in the morning at the same time; when possible do this on the weekend as well
- Use the bed only for sleeping: do not eat, talk on the phone, or do work on your bed
- Make sure that your bedroom is quiet and dark: use earplugs or a fan to mask any noise that may interfere with your sleep
- Keep your room at a lower temperature and as dark as possible (a sleep mask may be needed). Sleeping in a room with a cooler temperature drops your core body temperature and signals your brain that it’s time to sleep.
- Eliminate electronics; that includes TV, phones, tablets, etc. These can be distractions and keep the mind racing.
- Get up and go to another room if you cannot sleep after thirty minutes: sit quietly in another room for 20 minutes; drink warm milk or caffeine-free tea; or listen to soothing music before going back to bed
- Avoid or limit your use of caffeine
- Exercise earlier in the day and avoid exercising within a few hours of going to bed
- Learn to better manage your time and the stress in your life
- Avoid naps during the day if they interfere with establishing normal sleep patterns
- Avoid eating a large, late evening meal, or heavy fatty foods before going to bed
- Prepare for the next morning: lay out your clothes and your books for the next day - this will save a lot of time and you will not be rushed in the morning
- Use the morning to ease into starting your day: avoid the snooze button; allow time to get ready, have breakfast, and leave for class
McKinley Health Center
- Primary Care Provider - 217-333-2700 or go to MyMcKinley to schedule an appointment.
- McKinley Stress Management Educator - 217-333-2714
- McKinley Mental Health Unit – 217-333-2705