Photo Credit: Becca Schultz (via Unsplash)
Mid-semester, sleep might seem hard to find. Many students are stressed and overwhelmed with midterms, assignments, and preparing for exams. However, it is still essential to take care of yourself and make time for sleep.
For reference, I have struggled with sleep apnea for years. When I was sixteen, preparing for my Cambridge Exams, I started neglecting my sleep. I woke up at 5 am, took mathematics classes for three hours, then went to school for eight hours, and then back to tuition after school. Once home, I would have dinner and dive into my homework again. I slept for barely four hours a day. This went on for months. The hard work indeed paid off, but I was left exhausted for years. It came to a point where I had no motivation. I was depressed and had to opt for Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for insomnia (CBT-I).
CBT-I has provided me with some great tips and data, which we will discover together.
1. You need a comfortable environment for a good night’s sleep
The ideal room temperature to sleep well is around 15-20 degrees Celsius. Your room needs to be tidy, cool, quiet, and of course, dark (if preferred).
2. Ensure that your bed is a clean space.
Wash your sheets regularly and make your bed every morning. Keeping your room tidy and clean will automatically make it appealing.
3. Invest in candles.
I have found this to be very therapeutic. I usually buy lavender-infused candles as they help me with my anxiety. You may even opt to purchase lavender oil for its calming and relaxing properties and spray some in your bed.
4. Invest in your bedding!
Studies show that most people complain about back pain when sleeping. The solution is simple. Invest in your bedding!
5. Take a hot shower right before bed
Taking a hot shower before bed really helps. It loosens up phlegm, helps blood circulation in muscles, and provides a sense of relaxation. There are many excellent shower products you can use to increase relaxation, such as massage bars and your favourite scented shower gel.
6. Decrease caffeine.
My caffeine intake has been very high over the years. This resulted in worsening my sleep apnea. If an individual gets enough sleep, they will not need caffeine to fuel their day. Beverages such as coffee and energy drinks make it hard to sleep past a certain hour.
7. Diet matters.
Consuming the correct number of vitamins and minerals helps have a healthier body. Fruits such as nuts are very beneficial as they are natural melatonin.
8. Moderate consumption of melatonin.
In addition to making changes in my diet, I have also increased my melatonin intake. The small tablets can be found easily at your local supermarket, and if consumed in moderation, it poses no threat!
Keeping fit and active promoted a night of better sleep. My body was exhausted whenever I worked out, and sleep came naturally.
This is a classic example, yet many people do not know how to meditate. It is simple: sit upright, concentrate and practice breathing exercises. Calm, gentle music might help with concentration.
11. Turn off any devices an hour at least before bedtime.
You may put your phone on “do not disturb”, set the ringer loud in case someone needs it urgently, set your alarm, and let your phone charge.
While your phone is off, take time to read. Your eye muscles have to work hard when reading, so they tire easily. So, grab a book/magazine of your liking and dive in!
To conclude, insomnia is real and affects many of us. However, with simple yet effective ways, one can find the pleasure of a good night’s sleep again. It requires a willingness to adopt more health-sustainable practices and use them regularly.