Sleep is vital to ensure we are able to function at our best. You know how you feel if you haven't slept well the night before you go around the next day like a zombie and your productivity is seriously limited. I understand there will be times over the next few years were sleep is of no concern as you party into the early hours. However, there will be periods were you need to function at your best! An upcoming exam, group project or placement will require a well rested you! So how do you achieve that, is it as simple as just getting your head down?
Well, the key essential is routine. As we age we seem to lose any sort of resemblance of a bedtime routine. We stay up late, we play on our phones and eventually, we'll just go to bed. In practice, the end of the day should replicate the start of the day in terms of order.
Ok, I understand first-year students will not be interested in the slightest here, so 2nd 3rd and 4th-year students please stay with me. You should, as routine look to go to bed at the same point each night with an aim to sleep for 6-8 hours. So depending on your wake up time you can figure out when bedtime should be. Use an app to monitor your sleep phases, these are free and will also feature in an alarm that will analysis your sleep pattern and wake you up gradually from a light sleep phase. Prior to bed is routine and like when you were a child it should ideally be the same each night.
Here's a few do's and dont's to ensure you get that all important night's sleep.
Go to bed at the same time and wake at the same time each day.
When it comes to sleep the body likes consistency.
Try and create an optimum room temperature of around 68F/20C.
If possible take a warm bath or a shower to relax the body.
Warm milk is always good or a similar warm drink.
Eat foods 1 hour before bed that are rich in Tryptophan such as cheese or eggs.
Try to add in a very light stretch or exercise routine to tire the body.
Finally, avoid light exposure, blackout blinds are ideal and will allow your body to settle. This also includes blue light from computers and iPhones.
Now for the do not's.
Try not to drink caffeine or energy drinks after 2 pm, these are stimulants and will make settling down difficult.
Try and stop watching TV or using a mobile device 30 minutes before bed. This will allow you to properly unwind.
Ultimately it's not rocket science but simple routine. A good night's sleep may prove to be the difference between a pass or a failure. Don't neglect your health.
A Bit About Our Contributor: Robert James Woodhead - Lecturer of Essential & Core Skills at Edinburgh College
A passionate educator within the FE sector. Student focused and driven by innovation, quality and challenge. Sports background with an ability to adapt, develop and deliver courses across a range of subject areas.