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BERKELEY'S NEWS • NOVEMBER 17, 2023

Don’t sleep on sleep: The ultimate guide to sleep hygiene

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TIMOTHY KRAUSE | CREATIVE COMMONS

(Photo by Timothy Krause under CC BY-SA 2.0.)

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APRIL 11, 2022

If there was a magic pill that could brighten our moods, sharpen our memory and speed up recovery, I’m sure we would all take it in an instant. Luckily, such a pill exists. We take it on a daily basis, but most of us do not get enough of it: sleep. As busy college students who often lack this essential habit, we must establish a healthy sleep routine to wake up as our healthiest and happiest selves. Here are a few tips to help you get the adequate number of z’s you so deserve.

Ditch the caffeine

Calling all caffeine lovers! Too much caffeine interferes with our body’s natural circadian rhythm to detect when we should be wide awake and go to sleep. Drinking caffeine late in the day can make falling asleep feel difficult, as our bodies struggle to sense normal sleep signals. Try to wean off of caffeine five hours before you intend on going to bed so you can fall asleep earlier and faster. The mental performance of getting enough sleep vastly outweighs caffeine’s ability to help you focus, so don’t dismiss this tip!

Establish regular sleep times

I’ve noticed that going to sleep and waking up around the same time every day — yes, even on the weekends — allows my body to achieve higher qualities and quantities of sleep. Maintaining a consistent sleep schedule allows you to fall asleep and wake up easier, helping you crush the morning grogginess and late-night restlessness. This tip allows me to stay energized without intense cravings for caffeine.

Turn down the temperature

As someone who used to take more than an hour to fall asleep, I’ve noticed that this one tip has dramatically improved my ability to fall asleep. Cold temperatures affect our circadian rhythm, helping our bodies produce more melatonin. Our bodies reach their lowest temperature when we’re asleep, and starting with a cold environment jump-starts this process. Plus, why not snuggle up with some warm blankets after a long, stressful day as the chilly atmosphere puts you to sleep?

Dim the lights

As you can tell by now, the circadian rhythm is sacred to good sleep hygiene. Bright lights – especially blue lights — interfere with our body’s production of melatonin. About an hour before bed, try to stay off of devices. Another alternative is to use blue-light glasses — if you must. Additionally, installing yellow-hued lights in the bedroom can help with relaxation and sleepiness.

Try the military method

If you’ve tried everything and still can’t seem to fall asleep, try the military sleep method. Close your eyes, and imagine relaxing scenery. Starting with the top of your head, imagine every muscle relaxing. If you’re distracted, repeat the phrase “don’t think” over and over again. Then, slowly and gradually move down your neck, shoulders, thighs and so on. By the time you reach your feet, you should be on your way to falling asleep.

Hopefully, this article will help you sleep like a champ and wake up feeling refreshed and energized. If one tip doesn’t work out, don’t be afraid to mix and match what works for you. All that matters is that you’re getting rest so that your mind and body are at their best.

Contact Geraldine Yue at [email protected].
LAST UPDATED

APRIL 11, 2022


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