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Better sleep for the stressed student

Scientists state that sleep-deprivation impairs focus and therefore efficiency and that sound sleep has a role cementing memory into our experiences. Dr Jakke Tamminen of Royal Holloway has studied the effects of sleep upon study and has told the BBC: “Sleep is really a central part of learning.
Even though you’re not studying when you sleep, your brain is still studying. It’s almost like it’s working on your behalf. You can’t really get the full impact of the time you put into your studies unless you sleep.”
How do you achieve what sleep psychologists call good “sleep hygiene”?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends the following:

  1. Stick to a sleep schedule and regulate your body clock: each day, the same time to bed and the same time to wake up.
  2. Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual. A passage to read, a spot on the wall to stare at, a breath to take deeply – all without the glare of bright lights. Take a warm bath. You need time to move into sleep mode.
  3. If you have trouble sleeping, avoid naps, especially in the afternoon. Power naps be gone!
  4. Exercise daily. Even light exercise is better than none.
  5. Evaluate your room. Your bedroom should be a reasonably cool temperature, say between 60 and 67 degrees, free from noise, light, and humidity.
  6. Sleep on a supportive mattress and pillows. No uncomfortable dents or depressions to lie upon.
  7. Use natural bright light to help manage your circadian (natural) rhythms. Steer clear of bright light in the evenings and get sunlight in the morning.
  8. Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, heavy meals, caffeine, and other stimulants in the evening. Try not to eat large meals for two to three hours before bedtime.
  9. Avoid using electronic devices near bedtime. Screen light stimulates the brain – so no using laptops, readers, mobiles, and tablets for an hour or two before you retire for the night.
  10. If you can’t sleep, go into another room and do something relaxing until you feel tired. Strengthen the association between bedroom and sleep. If you can, avoid studying in the bedroom.
Invest in thick curtains if you can, earplugs if needs be. A tidy bedroom in calming colours is more relaxing than clutter and bright wall-hangings

Good diet

Three main chemicals help create good sleep:
 
  1. Tryptophan: found in poultry, pulses, and seeds.
  2. Serotonin: created by having Tryptophan in the body.
  3. Melatonin: get this by sleeping in a dark environment.

Good habits

Certain “organising” tasks can clear the mind of clutter. Writing “to do” lists is one such activity as is keeping a sleep diary, which may also reveal things that contribute to your sleeplessness.

See your GP

Seek medical advice if you’ve tried the above and your sleeplessness is persistent. If you’re sleepy during the day and snore loudly or sometimes wake up fighting for breath, you may be suffering from sleep apnoea, which most of the time can be treated successfully.

Further help

Sleepstation contains further advice on getting a good night’s rest including de-stressing, Covid-19 and sleep, recommended alarm clocks, wind-down techniques, and others.
We are here if you have any questions or concerns, you can contact us on 0330 088 8495 or info@ltckent.co.uk

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