A good night of sleep in college can be rare and far-between. With roommates, exams, and homework around the clock, it can be hard to prioritize getting enough, good-quality rest in. If you’re struggling to get in a good eight hours, studies show that you’re among 70% of students that report the same.
While I’m not a sleep expert, I think all of us can agree that getting good overnight rest in college is so important. As a previously sleep-deprived person, below are a few habits I wish I had in college to get a more restful night of sleep.
Habit #1: Get more sunlight
If you’re holed up in a study hall, library, or apartment without sunlight, be sure to open up the blinds or get outside for some vitamin D. While the circadian rhythm change with puberty isn’t well-understood, it’s proven that getting bright morning light can help shift the time for earlier sleep, so you get sleepy and fall asleep earlier in the evening.
One of the reasons I chose my apartment was the east-facing windows. When I wake up in the morning, I get bright, natural sunlight that streams through the blinds. It’s a natural alarm clock for me, and I love knowing that it’s helping me both wake up and fall asleep earlier.
If you have the option to choose an apartment or dorm room, try getting one with windows (bonus points if they face east!) so you can open up the blinds first thing in the morning and get your sunlight in.
Habit #2: Take more breaks during the day
Anxiety and stress can play a huge role in the lack of sleep, which is no surprise in college. With exams, scholarships, and the constant pressure to succeed, feeling stressed is common in the college experience.
One of the habits I incorporated in my later years of college helped me manage my stress immensely. The fix? Take more breaks during the day. It sounded counterintuitive to take more breaks when I didn’t feel like I needed them, but I felt so much lighter and accomplished at the end of the day as opposed to feeling drained and overworked.
It’s all too common to study for hours on end, but it can truly affect how much information you actually retain and how your brain processes right before bedtime.
To incorporate more breaks, I highly recommend trying the Pomodoro Technique: 25 minutes of dedicated work (a pomodoro), 5 minute break. Every 4 pomodoros, take a longer 15-30 minute break.
During your breaks, ditch the screens and go on a sunny walk, take a bike ride, chat with a friend outside, or even sit in silence somewhere comfy. One of the things I wish I had in school was a Purple Seat Cushion. I have the Double Seat Cushion to use at my desk, but it also double-duties as a very comfortable, supportive floor cushion to read or sit or pray/meditate in silence on my breaks.
Habit #3: Enjoy your dreamy sleep sanctuary
One of my closest friends in college was one of the most responsible, diligent students I knew. She always printed lecture slides before class and finished homework early. She was also one to always—without a doubt—get her sleep in even if it meant ditching study hours and turning in earlier. I wanted to be just like her.
Sometimes I would visit her right before bedtime, and I felt like I was interrupting. She greeted me in the evenings with freshly-blow dried hair in her fluffy bathrobe, and her room felt like a complete sleep sanctuary. The things I remember about her room:
- Her combination of dim lighting and black-out curtains
- Frigid room temperature (read up how that helps here)
- Regularly washed and laundered bedding
I was inspired by her to create my very own sleep sanctuary moving forward, so I bought all the things: candles, slippers, good bathrobes, all the yummy evening things.
The thing that made the most difference was high-quality pillows and bedding. When I visited the Purple Store in Austin for the first time, I was convinced the Purple Pillows and Sheets would change my life. They absolutely have.
I’ve gone through at least six pillows before finding out the Purple Harmony Pillow was exactly what I needed at night. I get very warm in my sleep, so the signature grid design keeps my head and neck cool and comfortable. The SoftStretch Sheets are luxuriously soft and stretchy—a huge plus for me, because I move around in my bed so much!
If you haven’t found your perfect bedding yet or you don’t know what you want for the holidays this year, these should go at the top of your lists!
It’s true that when you look forward to bedtime, it’s worth it to invest in habits and products that will help you get a great night of sleep. Thank you to Purple for sponsoring this blog post!