1. Tell technology “Good Night”
The first culprits that steal your sleep are some of the things you love most. Cell phones, computers, and other gadgets with electronic screens emanate blue light and interrupt melatonin production, which helps you sleep.
You can get apps for phones and tablets that reduce blue light. But without these apps, turn off phones, tablets, computer screens, and even television sets at least thirty minutes before bed.
2. Ditch your afternoon fix
Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants and inhibit sleep. Limit stimulants after lunchtime to sleep well at night.
3. No sleeping in
Sleep only an hour longer on the weekend than your latest weekday wake-up time so your body adapts to a schedule.
4. Exercise early
A little exercise definitely helps you sleep at night. But exercise early in the day, not in the late afternoon or evening, when it might interfere with sleep.
5. Sorry, alcohol
While alcohol may make you fall asleep faster, it actually disrupts your sleeping patterns. Experts recommend avoiding alcohol four to six hours before bedtime.
6. Check out the latest sleep apps
There are oodles of them, from sleep trackers that report the exact length and level of sleep, to clocks that wake you slowly so you’re not yanked from a deep slumber, to the aforementioned blue light filters, to soothing sounds that lull you to dreamland.
7. Go outside
Your body needs to experience the light of day in order to reinforce its sleep and awake cycles. Just an hour of outside time a day should be enough.
8. Minimize sleep disruptions
Roommates, family members, outside noises, streetlights shining through the window — any light or unexpected sound can interrupt your sleep. Sleep masks and white-noise machines can help. You can also research other ways to minimize interruptions.
9. As for naps…
Naps can help you catch up with your sleep deficit, but be careful. It’s best to nap before late afternoon and to only sleep about thirty minutes. Longer naps can interrupt your sleep cycles.
10. Perhaps the best sleep aid of all…
And if none of these other suggestions suits you, surely fellow students can recommend a sleep-inducing textbook to send you off to lullaby land.