From education to employment

The Ultimate Student Guide To Getting A Good Night’s Sleep

students looking at computer

According to a study by Student Beans, the top-rated discount provider for students, almost 62% of students find exams so stressful that their mental wellbeing is negatively impacted. A previous study has shown 46% of Gen Zers consider themselves to have a mental health condition which means not getting enough sleep is likely to aggravate symptoms. 

For a better night’s sleep, Ches Castle, People Partner and Mental Health First Aider at Student Beans have provided her top tips for helping students establish a healthier sleep routine:

Relax the body and mind       

“As a nation, we are stressed. We know it’s easier said than done, but going to sleep when your brain is wired and moving 100 mph is not going to give you your beauty sleep. 

“Consider journalling before sleeping. It helps to ease the mind and can help release any anxieties or worries that may be troubling you, leaving your mind clearer for a better night’s sleep.

“Think of relaxation as a blank canvas for sleep. Dr. Michael Breus also known as the Sleep Doctor recommends taking these steps to help wind down:

  • Take a warm bath or shower
  • Practice breathing exercises
  • Keep lights low and avoid blue light
  • Drink a warm (non-caffeinated) drink like milk or herbal tea
  • Avoid stimulating activities a couple of hours before bed (like watching TV”

Keep to a sleep schedule

“Life is busy. One day you have back-to-back lectures and then the next you struggle to fill the day. If you can, try and create a regular sleep schedule. Building these healthy habits will help give you a more consistent sleep schedule.

“Consider taking these steps to stick to a sleep schedule: 

  • Set a bedtime: a consistent bedtime will help train your body and mind to understand it needs to wind down and help you to fall asleep quicker.
  • Consistent wake-up times: even if you have a day off work or lectures, try to avoid sleeping in too much and set your alarm for the same time each day. 
  • Aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night: quality is better than quantity when it comes to sleep, but aiming for around 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night should help you feel more rested.”

Create a relaxing sleep environment

“Relaxing your mind is one thing, but if your bedroom is untidy and not a space you can unwind in then your sleep is going to be impacted. Some adjustments you can make to your sleeping space include:

  • Invest in a good mattress and pillow: if you’re in student accommodation, try out a mattress topper instead to help improve your mattress.
  • Keep the space cool: keep the window open before you head up to sleep or keep a fan on to prevent overheating.
  • Keep the bedroom dark: black out curtains and eye-masks help keep out the light and increase the production of melatonin to help you sleep.
  • Avoid screens: electronics emit blue light which disturbs your sleep and makes it harder to drift off.
  • Save the bed for sleep: studying or watching TV in bed is so easily done but try to avoid it and keep your bed for sleeping to help the brain recognise when it’s time to switch off.
  • Read to relax: spending some time reading before trying to sleep, preferably a book that isn’t too stressful or tense though! Reading helps to calm the body down and reduces stress hormones, allowing you to have better quality sleep.”

Adopt good sleep habits during the day

“A good night’s sleep doesn’t just start the second you slide into bed. What you do during the day and your lifestyle in general will have an impact on your sleep.

  • Exercise earlier in the day: Exercise is great for lowering stress levels and boosting sleep. All you need is around 20 minutes of low-impact cardio like walking and aim to exercise at least four hours before bed.
  • Limit napping: Napping is great for certain situations, but if you nap frequently during the day to try and catch up on sleep, you’re actually doing yourself a disservice. Limit them to 30 minutes or less and nap at the same time each day.
  • Avoid heavy meals before sleep: Indigestion can cause sleep problems so try and avoid eating a big meal right before bed. Opt for a light snack instead.
  • Limit caffeine, alcohol and nicotine: avoid these during the evening to help you sleep better. These substances are linked to being more awake and alert, so if you need a good night’s sleep, keep your coffee intake to earlier in the day. 
  • Bright light as early as possible: Exposure to bright light earlier in the day helps to regulate your circadian rhythms which is important for great sleep.”

Related Articles