It’s time for midterms; those major projects are being assigned and on top of that you still have your everyday homework! With all this to do you may find yourself getting less and less sleep. Skipping sleep to finish homework may seem like a good idea but this lack of sleep can actually be adding to your stress level. So to stress less, get the right kind of night’s rest by following these few tips!

Schedule your sleep! Going to bed and waking up at a different time each day can really wreak havoc on your body’s sleep-wake cycle, making you less focused and more stressed throughout the day. To ensure a more productive day, setting a consistent bed time and a time to wake up is key. This helps your body’s internal clock to sync up with your sleep schedule, allowing you to feel well rested and ready to take on the day!

Plan your way to bed: Sticking to a sleep schedule can be hard, especially when you have a lot on your mind or you just don’t feel tired, so what I do is follow a bedtime ritual. This allows me to focus more on getting ready for bed rather than the many stressors of the day. Following a ritual also prepares your body and mind that it’s almost bedtime, making it easier to fall asleep once you lay down.

Eat to promote sleep: It’s a half hour before bed and you know you shouldn’t eat but you’re hungry! What should you do? Don’t go to bed hungry: eating before bed is fine as long as you don’t stuff yourself and you try to avoid carbohydrates. When I feel in dire need of a nighttime snack I try foods that promote sleep like almonds, peaches, walnuts, apricots, oats and bananas. These foods contain tryptophan, a natural sedative, helping you to feel tired and ready for bed!

A little exercise goes a long way: Exercise and sleep go hand in hand. Going for a run or to the gym for a workout is a great way to get a longer, better night’s sleep. Exercising in the late afternoon or early evening is best, as it raises your body temperature a few hours before bed, allowing it to slowly fall as you get ready for bed. This lower temperature is trigger for your body, signaling bedtime.

So don’t let the stress of your day keep you from the sleep you need to function; sleep more and feel your stress lessen!

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Written by Carly Odynsky, Peer Educator