Sweet (Sleep) Surrender

by Abby Whelan

Ever since I was little, one of the best pieces of advice my mom has given me has been “go to sleep, it is ALWAYS better in the morning.”

In high school, I had a pretty naturally regulated sleep schedule, going to bed around the same time every night and waking up at same time every morning. Coming into college, however, my sleep schedule was something that completely shifted, and therefore became something that was so hard for me to adjust. In order to compensate for my minimized sleep hours, I did what so many college kids do without thinking twice: drank coffee, slept in late, and became an expert nap taker. Unfortunately these habits caught up to me, and without sufficient sleep, I started to get sick more often. My body was literally feeling jet-lagged because I would go to bed at such varying times during both the weekends and the weekdays, even though I was justifying my later bedtimes by saying to myself that I would “catch up on sleep” in the morning.

Realizing that I needed to improve my sleep habits to get back on track, and figuring out how much sleep my body needed was so important improving my health. Making sure that I was getting a good 8 hours of sleep (almost) every night, and even more than that when I was not feeling well or when I had to get up for a test the next day, became one of my top priorities.

More recently, I have been so interested in seeing what suggestions other people have for trying to maintain healthy sleep schedules on a daily basis. With night classes, club meetings, weekend events, and late night library sessions, it is almost impossible for students to maintain such a regular routine like it was before college. Reading the sleep revolution by Arianna Huffington was so interesting for me, as Huffington put into perspective and reiterated to me how important sleep really is. I have recently started using a sleep mask at night, and have been paying better attention to eating a couple hours before I go to bed instead of right before, along with not having caffeine after 3 pm. Additionally, I have been trying to put away my technology about a half hour before I go to bed, as it has been proven that looking at a phone or computer screen will affect the time that it takes you to fall asleep. There are always more things that we can do to adapt and to better our own sleep schedules.

Maybe one method might not be right for you, but there are so many different things you can try to improve your health by focusing on sleep! Explore OHP’s website for some more research and some suggestions as to what you can do to try and regulate your own sleep and become a healthier you. You can also schedule an individual iSleep appointment or an iHP (Individual Health Plan) here: bc.edu/healthpro.

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