Transitioning to a new environment and schedule partway through the semester is difficult. Given the amount of assignments and additional distractions, your sleep quality and quantity might also be suffering.
Since staying in, there’s a chance you’re feeling more tired than before. According to one Sleep Specialist, this is likely due to our brains getting less stimulation. Reduced exposure to sunlight and only interacting with a few people within the confines of a few rooms can cause us to feel more sluggish.
Some small tweaks to your routine can impact both in how you feel and your GPA. Here are a few recommendations to improve sleep:
Schedule it in
While you may want to stay up late bingeing a new Netflix series or are cramming for an exam, not getting enough sleep can set you behind for the day ahead. Sleep is when our brain stores important memories and replenishes our energy stores. So by studying late into the night, you’re actually less likely to remember those facts on the test.
Young adults typically require 7-9 hours of sleep per night. While that may seem like a lot, when you prioritize consistent sleep, you will be more focused and productive throughout the day. Using a planner or other scheduling tool is a good way keep track of important assignments and deadlines and manage your time effectively.
Monitor your caffeine intake
Starting the day with a warm cup of coffee is a nice ritual for some, but consuming too much caffeine can mess with your sleep. For most adults, experts agree that 300-400 mg of caffeine, about 3-4 8oz cups of brewed coffee, per day is a safe amount. However, if you are feeling jittery, unable to sleep, or have an upset stomach, you may want to cut back on your caffeine consumption.
Since the effects of caffeine can last for up to 8 hours, it’s best to avoid it later in the day so as not to affect your sleep. If you are feeling tired, try a short 20-30 minute nap instead for your afternoon pick-me-up!
Don’t let electronics short-circuit your sleep
Now more than ever, we’re spending a lot of time staring at screens. The light emitted from electronic devices can make it harder to fall asleep, so try to power down at least 30-60 minutes before bed. If you use your phone as an alarm, consider placing it in another part of your room so you won’t be tempted to scroll through Instagram as you fall asleep and will also force you out of bed in the morning to turn it off.
A space that is cool, dark and quiet is best for a good night’s rest. Journaling, reading a book (on paper), and/or drinking herbal tea are nice wind down activities to try.
Find positive ways to cope with stress
The uncertain times we are living have likely caused some stress, which can also interfere with sleep. If you’re feeling overwhelmed, try and monitor how much news you are consuming to help you maintain emotional balance.
To manage stress, stay active make time for the things you enjoy every day. Try a new recipe or take a walk outside to ease you mind. Check out Recreation & Wellness’s website and social media (@usfrecwell) for some at–home activities to get you moving. You’ll feel better and likely sleep better at night too.
Know where to turn for help
Of course, you can follow these tips and still find yourself feeling exhausted and anxious. USF has support systems that can help.
Check out USF Health and Wellness’ vast array of (now virtual) resources and information to you your well-being. Talking one-on-one with a Success & Wellness Coach or listening one of the Counseling Center’s guided mediations may be just what you need to rest easy.