I’m sure everyone can agree that there is nothing worse than being exhausted, lying in bed, and still being unable to fall asleep. You toss and you turn, you count sheep, you even play ‘relaxing sleep music’, but still nothing seems to do the job. Call me your agony aunt, because here are ten (ish) tips that I hope will solve these issues.
If you’re like me and enjoy a bit of exercise, going to the gym late in the afternoon works wonders for your bedtime routine. Not only are you left feeling good about yourself, but your body releases serotonin (the ‘happy hormone’) when you exercise, leaving you feeling less stressed.
Going to the gym usually gives you the biggest appetite, and I find that listening to some nice music whilst cooking a nice meal with your housemates distracts your mind from the stresses of the day. I’d recommend eating your evening meal at least 1.5 hours before you sleep to give your body time to digest your food.
This tip is probably a given, but also one of my favourites. Having a bath (if you’re lucky enough to have one at uni) or shower surprisingly has amazing health and mental benefits. Not only does a warm shower leave you feeling refreshed, it also normalises your body temperature so you’re neither too hot nor too cold for bed!
This next tip is certainly down to personal preference, but I find that studying late at night always stops me from having a good sleep, so stopping work at about 8:30pm and relaxing in front of the TV or laptop provides the perfect chance to unwind and clear your head (Bake Off works wonders for me and my housemates). Of course, this might not be possible for all students, especially for third and fourth years, but I’d recommend leaving an hour between working and going to sleep in order to unwind.
Drinking water close to your bedtime is also known to have amazing health benefits such as flushing out toxins from the day, keeping you hydrated, and giving your skin that healthy glow – you will quite literally be sleeping beauty! So, water you waiting for?
This is without a doubt my favourite (and in my opinion most useful) bedtime tip that is almost guaranteed to have great effects: reading before you sleep. Although it sounds simple, even the most successful CEOs, such as Elon Musk, have admitted to reading before they sleep. It’s a great way to stimulate your brain, whilst also placing you in a world of your own. I suggest reading a non-academic book – although this might be a given if you’ve been studying all day. My current bedtime read is The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde.
“Still awake after counting sheep? Try these top tips to help you sleep!”
Although your parents might have lectured you about turning your phone off when going to sleep, the benefits are surprisingly shocking. If you’re anything like most students, your phone is the first and last thing you see in the day. However, your body needs at least thirty minutes to wind down without a screen. Simply looking at your phone increases stress levels, causing your body to release a hormone called cortisol, and consequently keeps you awake.
Bedtime timings really vary from person to person, but I would say 10:30 – 11:00pm is the best time to go to sleep. Ensuring that you have the recommended 8 hours sleep, leaving you feeling refreshed in the morning – early bird catches the worm!
If you don’t already have a bedtime routine similar to this, I hope that this brief article helps you get a better night sleep. I may only be a History student and far from a sleep specialist, but I value my beauty sleep and have hopefully mastered the bedtime routine for other students like me!