It can be especially difficult this time of year for a student to get some shut eye. With the dread of upcoming midterms and the temptation of spending every night of the week with friends you hardly get to see, how is anyone supposed to get any sleep?

Carleton University’s Health Workplace says sleeping an extra hour or two a night can improve your health, productivity and mood. In fact, sleeping is one of the most fundamental ways your body recharges itself.  There are a lot of excellent reasons for students to make it a priority – see our story on 10 reasons you should get more sleep for details!

So it’s clear that sleep is very important all year round but particularly when studying for tests or writing papers. Things you do and eat during the day can affect how your body sleeps and ultimately the quality of your sleep.

Here are 10 ways you can achieve a better sleep at night.

  1. Turn off all electronics before going to bed. The blue light given off by smartphones, televisions and computers have been shown to disrupt sleep by blocking the production of melatonin – the hormone that makes you sleepy.
  2. Take a warm bath or shower. Relaxing your body in a steamy shower or calming bath can help prepare your body and mind for a good night’s sleep.
  3. Drink herbal tea 45 minutes before going to bed. Try drinking passion flower, chamomile or valerian root teas.
  4. Try a relaxing activity. Reading, puzzling and colouring are activities that can help unwind your brain from the day’s busy activities.
  5. Practice relaxation techniques. Yoga, breathing exercises, stretching and practicing gratitude are all methods that can help you achieve good sleep hygiene.
  6. Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bed time and wake up time. Allow seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
  7. (Try to) exercise daily. The best time is three hours before bed.
  8. (Again, try to) avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. A 20-minute power nap can be a saving grace to a long day, but skip out on naps that are longer than 45 minutes if you have trouble falling asleep at bedtime.
  9. Sleep in a cool room, ideally between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Design your room to establish the conditions you need for sleep (no noise or lights too!)
  10. Avoid heavy meals in the evening, and try not to eat too late. This can cause discomfort from indigestion and make it hard to sleep.

By Bianca Chan

For more information, visit the Healthy Workplace website, or make an appointment at Carleton’s Health and Counselling Services.

For more articles, see CUOL’s story archive.