Sleep is a very important component of being a college student, though it can be tough to come by. There are many factors that can negatively impact sleep, such as mood, busy schedule, difficult sleep environment, or substance use.
College is unique in some ways as to why sleep can be tough. The schedule of a college student can be very busy and stressful, which can lead to them either feeling as if they do not have time to sleep or have difficulty overthinking as they try to fall asleep.
STRATEGIES FOR BETTER SLEEP
Take a moment to try to determine why you are not getting as much sleep as you would like. Is it because your schedule is so busy (but you can fall asleep when you try) or if you have various difficulties while trying to sleep (e.g. difficulty falling asleep, unable to fall back asleep after waking up during the night, etc.).
If you are not getting enough sleep, it can impact many aspects of your life and make many things more difficult.
- If your schedule is too busy, but you are able to sleep when you try – you may need to look at your schedule. Our time management section may help with this.
- If you have enough time to sleep, but are unable to fall asleep, stay asleep, and/or wake up too early – some of our strategies below may significantly help.
Some students spend a large amount of time in their rooms on their beds doing homework, watching TV, streaming shows, reading books, and other activities. It can be helpful, if possible, to designate your bed as a space that you save only for sleeping.
This may also include having a wind down routine at the end of the night where you stop using technology 30 minutes before going to sleep and do other relaxing activities to get yourself in the mood to sleep.
Using deep, diaphragmatic breathing can help with feeling anxious. In general, when we begin to experience the emotion of anxiety, our body begins to react physiologically. Sometimes this results in our body going into full ‘fight or flight’ mode, where we have many intense physical reactions, many of which are described above in the signs and symptoms section. Using deep breathing can help us calm down and feel more relaxed.
This can be done through the use of apps, biofeedback equipment, or other means. To learn more, please look at our deep breathing section. If you are interested in learning more about biofeedback specifically, please go to our biofeedback page here.
Certain substances may lead to less fulfilling sleep. For example, marijuana use leads to significant disruption in the sleep cycle. It leads to people who use marijuana having little to no REM sleep, which is the deepest, most fulfilling part of sleep. If you are using substances while experiencing sleep difficulties, it is recommended you review this use and make as informed of a decision as you can.
THREE SPECIFIC STRATEGIES TO TRY TODAY
- If you are curious about learning more about your sleep difficulties, you may find it helpful to take one of our 8 mental health screening tools.
- We also developed a COPE stress test to further guide you as well.