Sleep Strategies To Help You Survive And Thrive In College

Tired lovely teenage girl in glasses sitting and sleeping at the table
Tired lovely teenage girl in glasses sitting and sleeping at the table

Being a student can be hard on your body and your sleep schedule! As an undergraduate, I worked two jobs, went to school full-time and held leadership roles in multiple student organizations. In my last semester as a graduate student, my schedule is now busier than ever. It's no secret that busy college students tend to pull all-nighters or sleep less to cram in study time. While I have certainly experienced these barriers to sleep in the past, throughout my college years I have also come to realize how important sleep really is.

Although college students are a sleep-deprived population, sleep can boost college students' academic success and prevent memory decay, which comes in handy for exams. Below are some great tips to help you catch more Z's:

• Download a blue light eliminator app for your smart phone! This app adapts your computer's display according to the time of day. There are plenty of free apps available.

• Power naps can help you keep up your energy. Napping 20 minutes (before entering REM sleep) may improve your performance during the day.

• Is your room "sleep" ready? Ensuring that you have a dark, cool sleep environment may help your body unwind faster.

• Lavender Aromatherapy is a great tool to incorporate in your bedtime routine. Try an oil diffuser to help relax the mind and body.

• Students can practice relaxation techniques before bed to improve quality of sleep, avoid doing homework immediately before (or in) bed, and avoid TV and computer use before bed. One great strategy is Progressive Muscle Relaxation, which is the tensing and releasing of targeted muscle groups.

• The National Sleep Foundation suggests that you keep a regular sleep schedule and stick to a consistent bedtime routine.

Here at University of Nevada, Las Vegas (UNLV), we support our students in reaching their sleep goals. The Rebel Wellness Zone, located on the 2nd floor of the Student Recreation and Wellness Center, features a relaxation room with state-of-the-art massage chairs. Students can sign up for free 15 or 30 minute sessions. This is my favorite way to spend my breaks between classes. The Rebel Wellness Zone also distributes "Zombie Prevention Kits" throughout the year that include packets of chamomile tea, a pair of ear buds and other stress relief items to help you not to feel like a zombie!

Life is all about balance. Trying to keep up with your social life, a job and your homework load is a never-ending battle, especially when trying to get 8 hours of rest. With proper planning, you can get more sleep!

This post is part of our series on sleep culture on college campuses. To join the conversation and share your own story, please email our Director of College Outreach Abby Williams directly at abigail.williams@huffingtonpost.com. And you can find out here if the #SleepRevolution College Tour will be visiting your campus, and learn how you can get involved. If your college is not one of the colleges already on our tour and you want it to be, please get in touch with Abby.