Medicine Cat sleeping on blanket

Published on February 13th, 2015 | by Alison Thomson


Restful sleep: a how-to guide for a purr-fect night

Au Magazine to the rescue! Relax as Alison Thomson shares the secrets to getting a good night’s sleep.

University students are well known for their constant utterances of “I’m so tired”, “I could sleep for a week”, and the old favourite: “It’s time for my afternoon nap”. Recently, some institutions have embraced the idea of an afternoon nap, and have introduced a ‘nap room’ — a comfortably cozy room specifically for students to pass out for a little while in peace. Students have been reported to be amongst the most sleep deprived in the population, with a recent survey revealing that 78% of students admit to having sleep problems.

It is becoming clear that a good nights sleep is just as important to our emotional and physical health as eating, physical exercise, and social interaction. Furthermore, a full night of sleep helps to regulate mood and improve attention span and memory.

So what can I do to get a good nights sleep?

So, without further ado, here are five top tips to help you get the rest you need.

1. Stop drinking caffeine later on in the day

Although that energy drink may seem like a good idea to help you stay awake and concentrate on your studies, if you drink it too late in the day then you will be over-stimulated when you go to bed, leading to unrestful sleep, or no sleep at all.

2. Stop using digital screens at least 30 minutes before bed

The bright lights given off by your tech prevents the production of melatonin — a hormone that promotes sleep. That 30 minutes without technology will help your mind to relax — maybe read a paper book instead?

3. Stop sleeping in at the weekend

If you get up at 7am every day during the week, you shouldn’t be getting up any later than 8am on the weekend. We know you hate 9am lectures, but oversleeping at the weekend confuses your sleep cycle and your body will just feel tired all the time instead!

4. Exercise! But not too soon before you go to sleep

Exercise is a great way to tire yourself out so that you have a restful sleep, although you need to do it earlier in the day. Exercising less than 3 hours before bed will raise your body temperature and make it harder to nod off.

5. Don’t go to bed angry

A commonly heard phrase, and it’s true! Going to bed while you’re stressed and angry makes it harder for you to fall asleep — you’re probably best to take a little time to cool off and relax. The same can be said for the stress of studying — you should take a break between study and bedtime so that you drop off to sleep a little faster. All those emotion-inducing hormones swirling about are going to do their best to disrupt tour sleep!

So, from all here at Au Magazine, we hope you succeed in getting a peaceful night’s sleep and you feel refreshed the next day!

Featured image by Chris Isherwood (CC BY-SA 2.0) on Flickr.

About the Author

Ali is currently a PhD student at Aberdeen University researching Spinal Muscular Atrophy. When not in the lab, she can be found out and about exploring Aberdeenshire, doing a bit of photography, or most likely drinking tea.

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