Some people are just better sleepers than others. We all have that one friend who can drop into a doze with a group of people chattering around them, the friend who’s asleep five minutes after takeoff on the plane and the one who sets five alarms before a morning exam (one of them being a phone call from their mother) just in case.
The current theory of neuroscientists is that sound sleepers are people that are lucky enough to have a type of brain activity that essentially blocks
According to research from Harvard Medical School, people who experience a higher number of “sleep spindles”, which are bursts of high frequency waves that are able to aid with sleeping. During their study, it took significantly louder and more frequent disruptions to bother these sleepers than their lower spindled compatriots.
Researchers aren’t yet certain why some people produce more frequent sleep spindles than others.
Whether you’re blessed with frequent spindles or not, here are some tips to ensure a solid night’s sleep, even in a crazy residence, or a noisy house.
Use sleeping aids that aren’t pills
While the temps are still high, a fan can work wonders for providing a steady stream of not only cool air, but also low-key noise that blocks out potential disruptions.
In the colder weather, there’s merit in creating a sleep playlist of songs that make you feel relaxed. Earplugs are a great thing to have on hand and though it may seem a bit diva-ish, so is an eye mask.
No devices before bed
I know I previously recommended using devices, such as an iPod to help you fall asleep, but spending time in front of lots of artificial light right before you try to hit the sack isn’t a good idea.
So pick another time of day to cruise Instagram and perhaps opt for a few pages of a book as your nighttime ritual instead. You’ll find yourself easily falling asleep.
Try and keep your sleep schedule regular
This is a tip that can seem nearly impossible for students who have unpredictable schedules, social events and commitments in the evenings. However, try to keep
fluctuations to a minimum to keep your body on track. Workable goals include getting to bed before midnight and up before 8 a.m. on the weekdays, and then maybe being a bit more lenient on the weekends.
Keep the room at a cool temperature
For those in residences, this can be a challenge as you’re not in control of the thermostat. If your room is stuffy, try sleeping with the window open for some cooler air and a breeze.
For students living in the University District, keeping things cool might not be as big of an issue with our budget conscious heating or lack thereof.
Reserve your bed for sleeping (and maybe a few other “activities”)
If you do schoolwork in bed, then when you get in it at night, your mind is still going to associate that location with academic stress. Try and make your bed a sanctuary, a place where you and your body can retreat from a hard day’s work.
Cut the caffeine in the afternoon
Caffeine is the enemy of a good night’s sleep, so unless it’s an absolute “I am going to fail this class if I don’t stay up and finish this” moment, try to abstain. Actually, try to abstain from being in that situation in the first place, that’s probably the best plan.
Focus on relaxation rather than sleep
So it’s been a long day and you have big plans for tomorrow. You crawl into bed, look at your clock and think, “okay, if I fall asleep RIGHT NOW, I’ll get seven hours.” Anybody else done this, or is it just me? Focusing on falling asleep can sometimes lead to sleep evading us.
Instead of harping on the numbers, think about relaxing your body, one section at a time, starting at your toes and finishing at the tip of your head.
Have a plan for the next day
If the amount that you have to accomplish the next day is whirring around in your head, and getting in the way of sleep, grab a piece of paper or your agenda and map out how you’re going to utilize your time tomorrow. Having a plan might just put your mind at ease enough to catch some zzz’s.
If you have a roommate, talk about it
Queen’s does its best to match up roommates with similar sleep preferences (either early birds, or night owls) once frosh have filled out their roommate questionnaire, but that process isn’t foolproof and sometimes people aren’t entirely truthful.
The best thing to do is to have a conversation about generally what time the two (or three, or four) of you like to go to bed and then work on compromises from there. Perhaps “lights out” is at 11, but a desk lamp is allowed for an hour after that.
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