Struggling with your sleep schedule? Here's how to fix it.

Saturday, April 25, 2020 Struggling with your sleep schedule? Here's how to fix it.

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During social distancing, you may find yourself staying up for long hours and sleeping in later and later. When the temptation of a Netflix binge or all-nighter study sessions take their toll, it’s easy to see why sleep really does matter. Here are solutions to getting better sleep and awakening refreshed.


Create a sleep-friendly environment.

While noisy roommates or family members can make it difficult to fall asleep, it helps if you dedicate your bed area to being the best sleeping environment possible. Treat yourself to a mattress topper and comfy blankets for more enjoyable sleep. Avoid studying or eating in bed; associating your bed with only sleep makes it easier on your brain at bedtime. Additionally, consider blackout curtains or earplugs to eliminate outside distractions.


Make a schedule (and stick to it).

Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day to re-energize your routine. A reliable sleep schedule is the best way to ensure you get enough rest. Think about it: if you always sleep and wake up at random times, you never know when you'll start to feel tired again. With a regular sleep schedule, your life will have more consistency and you're more likely to wake up feeling refreshed.


Limit lights before bedtime.

Light from screens can really impact your quality of sleep. The blue light from computers, TVs or your phone reduce melatonin - a hormone used to induce sleep - and you stay alert rather than getting tired. About an hour before bed, commit to turning off all electronics and bright lights to get yourself ready to sleep. You can also try blue-light-blocking glasses to filter out that harmful light.


Avoid midday naps.

However tempting it may be to lay down for a midday nap, do your best to avoid this habit. Yes, you may be refreshed when you wake up, but more likely you'll end up staying awake later. You could just as easily awaken groggy and disoriented, which affects your productivity for the rest of the day. 


Know your personal body clock.

When scheduling classes for the upcoming term, keep in mind your body’s inclination towards sleep. If you are an early morning riser, but find yourself tiring out by late afternoon, stick to morning and early afternoon classes so you focus your best attention on learning. Likewise, if you know you’re at risk of skipping early classes but don’t have trouble staying awake later, begin your schedule later in the day and be willing to take late afternoon or evening classes. Building a schedule around your natural sleep times allows you to avoid dozing off during lectures and be better suited to retain information.


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