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Sleep Rituals: One Size Does NOT Fit All

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As a college sophomore, I hear about sleep-deprived students on a daily basis. In high school, my friends complained that SAT and AP prep work were keeping them from rest; now my peers are fatigued from excessive projects and papers. Although it is only the beginning of the semester, stories of semesters past echo in our minds.

I don't know if I'm proud to say I have never pulled an all-nighter -- it seems like a major life milestone that I am missing out on. I probably could stay up all night, but there comes a point when I lose focus and the lack of sleep effects my mood the next day. During late-night homework assignments in high school, my mother affectionately referred to me as "Marc's Evil Twin." I suppose my irritability was overpowering?

In college, I know that I need at least five hours of sleep to be ready for class the next morning. There have been many close calls --a nd I know that I'm not the only one who has woken up at 8:55 for a 9 a.m. class. We're all guilty (even if we magically make it to class on-time, albeit out of breath).

I looked to my college peers to learn about their personal sleeping habits. I was hoping to gain a larger perspective on what typical college students need to catch some well-deserved zzz's.

My roommate has nearly perfected his sleeping routine. He says: "If I take a shower before I fall asleep it helps. Sometimes I try deep-breathing and I lay on my side and stretch out."

Other college friends have told me that they fall asleep to their "calm" iPod playlists, set the sleep timer on their TVs, or even perform various yoga positions. Many young adults seem to have their own ways of achieving deep sleep. While some of these rituals seem counter intuitive, they ultimately help sleep-obsessed college students find peace on a pillow.

Personally, I have a nightly ritual that signals to my body that I am preparing for sleep mode. After I finish washing up, I clean my desk, make notes for the next day, set my alarm, charge my phone, then hop into my twin-extra long bed with some reading material. This can range from the latest copy of Newsweek, to important study guides. Before long, my eyes struggle to stay open, and I turn off my desk lamp.

Essentially, by creating this very methodical habit, I have tuned my body to fall asleep with minimal tossing and turning.

Everyone seems to have their own personal habits when it comes to catching up on zzz's. If worse comes to worse, we can always just wait until the weekend -- brunch is served from noon until 2 p.m. for a reason.