College Life with EmmaGrace: Part 6
Welcome to part six of my “College with EmmaGrace Miniseries!” I hope you are enjoying this miniseries so far, and are happy about a little change in content. I try to throw a little bit of everything in my posts to give you some variety, which is why I don’t ONLY post the miniseries. Back when I started this blog in January, it was going to be all about bullet journaling. The goal was to show my spreads and give you some inspiration for your personal bullet journals. Then, I started sharing other craft projects and updates on my life. When I got to college, I decided to try this series out. A little change of content is always good, but I never want to forget what I started with: the bullet journal. That being said, I hope this miniseries can reach many people and help you on your journeys! I know it is labeled for college but many of these posts can be applied to everyone, at all points in life 🙂 Today I want to share a few ideas on something I think everyone can use a little help: sleep.
#1. Get into a routine
Figure out when you have to get up each morning, and make sure you are planning to sleep for at least eight hours. Even if you have varying morning classes, I would recommend going to bed around the same time every night. That way your body can get used to going to bed at a certain time, and you will start to get tired around the same time every night. Benefits also include falling asleep faster, academic success, improved metabolism, and much more.
Waking up at the same time is helpful as well and eventually your body will start to wake up by itself.
I know it’s unrealistic to go to bed and wake up at the exact minute every day, but getting into a fairly routine sleep cycle will help your internal clock, allowing you to go to bed and wake up easier. However, an occasional day to sleep in never hurt anyone ;).
#2. Pay attention to how much caffeine you drink, and when
I’ll admit it: I love my caramel lattes… nearly every day. I will also be the first to admit that you can easily get addicted and not be able to wake up without one. But that’s beyond the point. The point of this post is sleep, which means watching how much caffeine you have and what time of the day you have it.
True story: I decided to drink an entire latte at 8PM one night. My boyfriend bought me a new coffee mug that day and I just HAD to use it. I had to buy a coffee because you can’t put water in a coffee mug… right?! Anyway, I went to bed that night around 11PM and I didn’t fall asleep until past 4 in the morning. I had to wake up for an 8:30 class, and, as you may have guessed, I was miserable.
The point is: was when you drink your caffeine. On average, you should try to stop having caffeine about seven hours before you go to sleep. I usually go to bed about 11PM, so I would want to stop drinking caffeine by 4PM at the latest. The average adult can have UP TO 400 mg of caffeine a day, which is about four cups of coffee. BUT! That doesn’t mean you should do it, and if you do, make sure it’s earlier in the day.
#3. Work some exercise into your schedule
There are many different reasons behind why exercise helps sleep but a main factor is that it raises your internal body temperature. After you’re done exercising, your body temperature goes back down to normal and this can promote sleep. The timing of exercise matters to some people, but not to others. Most researchers would recommend working out in the morning to afternoon range, for about 30 minutes a day at least five days a week.
#4. Practice different breathing techniques
Practicing breathing calms your mind and body, and can help you fall asleep much faster. One thing I find really beneficial is that my mind can focus on breathing instead of all the stress of the day, or what I have to do the next day. A few breathing techniques include the 4-7-8, roll breathing, and belly breathing. You can learn more about breathing techniques here!
#5. Allow relaxation time before bed
For a lot of us, going to sleep is when all the anxiety of the day comes back. I understand that but try to get all your worrying out before you even get in bed. There is obviously a lot of stress from the day, but the best thing to do is worry about it earlier on. If something happened that day, address it then, and don’t wait until going to sleep to think about it.
Also, when you get in bed, you should be able to turn off your phone and just sleep. Before you go to sleep, turn off your phone and read, or do some meditation. Turning off electronics 30 minutes before bed allows your brain to shut down, but we’ve all heard that one before:)
#6. Finish work during the day
Finish studying and working 30 minutes to 1 hour before you go to sleep. Some nights it may be hard to do this, but that’s why you should try to get your work done all throughout the day. If you don’t have class in the morning, wake up early and get some stuff done. Or, if you only have morning classes, use the afternoon to your advantage and plug away at homework then. The more work you can get done during the day means the more time you have to relax before bed.
Of course, there will be nights that you stay up all night studying for an exam. However, if you study gradually throughout the week you should never have to do this. Plus, cramming doesn’t actually help you memorize, so don’t leave anything until the last moment… I will talk about this in a future blog post 😉
#7. Invest in some earbuds (and a sleep mask?)
One of my biggest struggles at night is falling sleep with distractions. Usually, it’s the voices in my own head, but outside noises keep me up as well. Honestly, if the room is not completely quiet I can’t go to sleep. With that in mind, buying some earbuds to listen to music while you sleep is a wonderful idea. You can drown out all the outside noises while listening to relaxing sounds that are meant to help you relax. PS: YouTube has a great selection of sleeping music.
Another great item is a sleeping mask if your roommate stays up later than you, and you need it to be dark to fall asleep.
Use your bed for JUST sleeping
This one may be a little weird, but if you do your homework or eat in bed all the time, your brain may be confused. If you only sleep in bed, your body will start to know and recognize that your bed is just for sleep. Plus, eating in your bed causes dirt and crumbs to go everywhere. You don’t need that while you sleep!
I hope these tips help you get some better sleep whether you’re in college or not! Sleeping is something I struggle with as well, so just know you’re not alone. These are just a few things that help me, but if you have any more suggestions, feel free to leave them down below!