Getting a Better Night’s Sleep

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by Lauren Chung, Lifestyle Staff Writer

From just one semester as a full-time student at UW-Madison, I realized that college is about balance. It is about freedom, independence, learning studies you actually care about and making memories with friends that you are sure you are going to tell your future kids all about.

Unfortunately, college, in all of its glory, still has a few downsides– one of the biggest being sleep deprivation. It is already a challenge getting yourself to bed on time with your monstrous to-do list pulling you away. Now consider that once you are in bed, with your head finally resting on your beloved pillow, you face yet another obstacle: trying to successfully get that good night’s rest you so desperately need. However, with these tips, you are sure to catch the shut-eye you need!

Lavender

There are numerous studies supporting the health benefits of lavender. The scent can not only help relieve stress but actually assist in achieving a deeper sleep throughout the night, leaving you feeling well-rested and ready to take on the day. Try misting your pillow with a lavender spray before climbing into bed to help you fall and stay asleep. If you want to take it up a notch, add two-to-three drops of lavender essential oil to a diffuser. This can create an even stronger, more peaceful effect.

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Tea

Though tea is not a revolutionary idea, it sure can help. Enjoying a cup of chamomile, a natural herb that aids in relaxation, prior to bedtime can work wonders. Many “sleepytime” or “bedtime” teas contain chamomile in addition to other herbs, such as mint, valerian and lavender. These, too, help make you relax, destress and hit the hay faster.

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Sound Apps

While using your phone before bedtime is a huge no-no (the blue light emitted from your screen prevents the release of melatonin, the hormone that makes your body fall asleep), we will make an exception for a few apps. There are numerous applications available that play soothing sounds while you try to fall asleep. From falling rain to tumbling waves, you will be asleep in no time. My favorite is Sleepcycle which plays the relaxing sound of your choosing until you fall asleep. Then, it will shut off and start to record your sleep patterns. In the morning, you can take a look at how long you were in REM sleep, how many times you might have woken up and the overall quality of your night’s sleep.

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Having a Routine

After you complete your day, try following the same routine before bed every night. Having a set routine can help signal to your brain that sleep is just around the corner. This makes the process of falling asleep both easier and faster. If you have time, include a bath for an ultimate step towards a good night’s rest.

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Yoga & Stretching

While working out before bed is not recommended, simple, less strenuous workouts that do not increase your heart-rate (such as stretching or yoga) are known to improve stress and relaxation levels. For a more serene atmosphere, light some candles around your yoga mat or let your essential oils diffuser run. Welcome the night’s sleep by letting go of your stressors from today and your anxieties for tomorrow.

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Separating Work from the Bedroom

Another great way to get your mind ready to sleep is to save all burdensome work tasks for anywhere but your bed. Keeping your desk and your bed as separate spaces physically can help you mentally sort out what mindset it should have in each. If you treat your bed as an area where you simply read or journal, your brain will always feel at ease there. Keep your bed as a space where you feel relaxed by journaling about your day, catching up on reading or listening to music.
Trying to find balance amidst a strenuous college lifestyle is quite the task, but with the help of a cup of tea or a quick stretch before getting cozy, you can at least master a peaceful night’s sleep.

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