Some Good Habits for Students Before Sleep and Why
The life of a student is hectic. Trying to balance daily life with strenuous study may be enough to keep anyone up at night. This may be further exacerbated by late nights cramming or hanging out with “study groups” the night before the big test.
Is this just the way student life goes? Not necessarily. There are good habits you can pick up to make your hours easier and more efficient.
How to Fall Asleep Like You Mean It
Sure, it’s easy to fall into bed willy-nilly when you’re tired, but how you fall asleep and the steps you take to get there can make a big difference. You may notice the difference in the quality of your sleep and how ready you are to tackle the day when you wake up.
Check out these tips to turn your nightly routine into good habits.
1. Use Your Brain
You’re tired. You spent all day in class and you have no more cells to sacrifice to the gods of higher education. Or do you?
You may find it beneficial to reach deep inside yourself to use your brain one last time before bed. Why?
According to scientists, sleep is essential for cementing new information into your memory. If you learn new information before bedtime, you are more likely to retain it.
This is because new information and memories are fragile and may be forgotten throughout the day. However, going to sleep soon after creating new information makes you more likely to download it into long-term memory.
In addition, sleep also helps you link new memories and old. Doing this may help with memory recall during your waking hours because your brain created associations with related information.
Finally, the most active part of your sleep cycle, REM sleep, has been shown to be prime time for problem-solving and processing emotions. You may even find yourself coming up with creative ideas and solutions you wouldn’t normally stumble upon while awake.
Furthermore, non-REM sleep cycles help to prime your brain for learning when you wake up. And missing out on these sleep cycles may lead to a 40% drop in your ability to learn new things.
2. Prepare for Tomorrow
Prepping for the next day means more than setting your alarm for your morning class. Try making a habit of doing these things to make your life easier. Especially first thing in the morning when you are grumpy and don't want to do anything but crawl back into bed.
Lay It All Out
Think laying out your clothes the way mom did sounds silly? You won’t think it’s so silly when all you have to do is crawl out of bed and pull your new day’s clothes on. See! Mom had it right.
But laying out your items for the next day goes beyond just your outfit. Think in terms of procedures you need to do in the morning. Do you make coffee in the morning? Lay out everything so you can autopilot your way through your first cup.
How about your stuff for class? Put everything you need in your bag before bed and clear off your desk. Keep your workspace as uncluttered as possible so you don’t have to work so hard each morning looking for things you need during the day.
If you suffer from morning grogginess, try laying out what you need for the day. The last thing you want is to begin your day running around in a stressful whirlwind. Instead, engage your autopilot as much as possible and save your brain power for the hard stuff.
Do the Hard Things First – Schedule Them First Thing in the Morning
Don’t want to do hard things first thing in the morning? No one really does. But think of how accomplished you’ll feel when you get the hardest tasks of the day out of the way first thing in the morning.
Besides, this also sets you up for the good habit of pushing through the hard stuff. Some people never master this skill, but you will have accomplished this before many people are out of bed. Feel free to pat yourself on the back.
3. Finish Your Day
When it’s time for bed, you need an activity nightcap. This means activities that allow you to decompress from your hectic day.
Contrary to popular belief, this does not mean crawling into bed for a few rounds of Candy Crush. It’s true. For a good night’s sleep, you need to turn off your cell phone. Or at the very least put it on silent.
Because scrolling through any device displays that have a blue wavelength can keep your brain alert, it’s counterproductive to sleep. This includes cell phones, tablets, and laptops.
Another reason why you may want to avoid your phone before bedtime? Checking out tech devices like your smartphone right before bed delays and reduces the melatonin released in your body. This makes it hard for you to drift off to dreamland. So what do you do when you can’t sleep? Probably pick up that smartphone again to check your feeds, creating a vicious cycle of alertness and melatonin delay.
So what should you do instead? Try these activities:
- Read some escape fiction
- Treat your mind to something light
You get the picture right? Relaxing and decompressing means saying goodbye to all the anxiety and stress of the day. Do things that get your mind ready for sleep, and that means non-stimulating activities.
Don’t give into the temptation to stay up all night and expect to perform the next day. You won’t, because sleep deprivation affects decision making, learning, and physical aptitude. Staying up late before exams may actually do more damage than good.
Instead, get into the habit of sticking to nightly and morning routines to optimize your sleep. Getting a good night’s sleep may help you retain all that information that you worked so hard to learn during the day. And help your brain prepare for a new day of learning when you wake up.
Your education is expensive. So retaining as much as possible is not only good practice for your future career goals, it’s cost-effective too.