Sleep disturbances are extremely common in university students. Most sleep problems in students are due to immediate stresses, lifestyle issues, or environmental disturbances. Being anxious about an exam, working late on a paper, or generally being distressed often leads to a poor night's sleep. Irregular bedtime hours can often result in difficulty in falling asleep. A noisy or uncomfortable environment is likely to adversely affect sleep as well. Coffee, alcohol and stimulant drugs are common negative influences on students' sleep.
One of the most important elements in ensuring adequate sleep is to know your own body. Just because your friend can function on six hours' sleep or can pull an all-nighter and then do well on an exam doesn't mean that you can. There is no point in spending hours studying for an exam if your mind blurs out from fatigue during the exam.
Following good sleep hygiene will help ensure a good sleep.
- Go to sleep at a regular hour most nights.
- Make sure that your sleep environment is comfortable.
- Avoid caffeine, alcohol, or stimulants after 3 pm.
- Do some physical activity during the day, but not right before bedtime.
- Eat regular meals.
- Have a small snack before bed. Milk and cookies is a good choice.
- Try not to nap during the day.
- Relax for an hour before going to bed.
Yeah, right! Get real! Okay, so it's totally unrealistic to routinely follow all of these points. However, one can try to make sleep habits as regular as possible, and to get back to some sort of routine after weekends and exam periods. After a late night partying, try to get up at a reasonable time (before noon!), don't nap during the day, try to get some exercise, and eat well. If you're in the middle of exam period and you've been staying up late, you can take a short nap if you need to after an exam, but try to get some exercise when you get up, and at least have some regular meals. Try to re-establish a reasonable bedtime as soon as possible.