Is Sleep Important?
Consistently getting enough sleep is an important part to your overall health and well-being because sleep rejuvenates, restores, and re-energizes minds and bodies.
Contrary to what some people believe, sleep is not a time of rest, but rather one of work. While we sleep, we’re organizing and consolidating our long-term memories, integrating and processing any new information we came across during the day, and repairing and renewing bodily tissues. Even though we’re technically resting, we’re still doing a lot of work!
How Much Sleep Do You Need?
Everyone needs a different amount of sleep every night, however most people will find that they need somewhere between 7-9 hours of sleep every night. There are definitely some people who require less or more sleep than that though! If you are curious about how much sleep is ideal for you, try going to bed around the same time each night and waking up without an alarm clock for a few days in a row. The average time of the duration of sleep in those few days is most likely the amount of ideal sleep for you!
Being a student is not always conducive to getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Sometimes it seems like we are able to get by on very little to no sleep while trying to manage the many demands of student lifestyles. In fact, many people are able to function for a few days every now and then being sleep deprived. However, chronically not getting the amount of sleep you need could contribute to things like memory/concentration/learning difficulties, strained interpersonal relationships, negative moods, etc. If you find yourself consistently not getting the amount of sleep you need, try to get caught up as soon as you can and/or go and speak with a health professional (i.e. McGill Student Health Service, McGill Counselling Service).
How Can I Improve My Sleep/Sleep Habits? (aka Sleep Hygiene)
There are many different sleep hygiene strategies that you can use to figure out what works best for you and your body! Some of these strategies include:
- Turn off electronic devices (computers and phones) one hour before you would like to go to bed
- Try to go to bed and wake up at similar times throughout the week
- Establish a routine you do every night before going to bed
- Regularly engage in active living activities
- Monitor your caffeine intake after 3pm
- Make your sleep environment comfortable (i.e. noise levels, lighting, temperature, etc.)
- If you cannot fall asleep, get up and do something relaxing until you feel sleepy