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You need Zzz's to get A's!
The average college student only gets 6 hours of sleep a night when they really need seven to nine hours. So, what's the big deal?
Not getting enough quality sleep can lower your immune system making you more likely to get sick, lead to mental health issues (like depression and anxiety) and problems with memory, attention, and concentration. Poor sleep has a bigger negative impact on grades than binge drinking, marijuana use, and being physically ill. Getting enough quality sleep each night can help you feel more awake and alert, increase your academic performance, and help you work at peak performance - studies have found that students who get enough sleep average a whole letter grade better than those that didn't!
Tips for Good Sleep
- Avoid caffeine four to five hours before going to bed. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to eight hours!
- Avoid alcohol before bed. It is a common myth that alcohol will help you sleep. In fact, drinking alcohol will decrease the duration and quality of your sleep.
- Avoid large meals right before going to bed. If you are hungry, just eat a light snack.
- Have a bedtime routine.
- Relax before bed: Take a hot shower, listen to calming music, or do some stretching or yoga.
- Put away electronics 30 minutes to an hour before bed and read an actual book (not your Kindle or Nook) until you are drowsy.
- Have a regular sleep wake schedule. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. If you find yourself, staying up later and sleeping in later on the weekends, try to keep the variation in your sleep schedule to less than two hours.
- Transform your room into a good sleep environment. Your room should be completely dark, cool (between 60-67ºF), quiet, and free of distractions (that means turning off your phone!)
Tips for Falling Asleep
- Keep a pad of paper next to your bed at night to write down thoughts or things that are stressing you out. Write out the problem on one page and a solution to it on the other, even if it's "I'll figure it out tomorrow."
- If you don't fall asleep within 45 minutes, do something easy, like reading for 15-25 minute, and then try going back to bed.
Living with a Roommate and Good Sleep
It's hard sharing a house or room with someone that has the complete opposite sleep schedule than you do. Here are some tips from SF State students on how they successfully dealt with it:
- Communicate! Talk with your roommates about when they go to sleep and get up.
- Set rules with your roommates, such as putting in headphones in to listen to music after 10 p.m..
- Be mindful and respectful of your roommates sleep schedule.
Disclaimer: SF State and Health Promotion & Wellness do not endorse a specific brand or product, these are suggestions.
Sleep tracking apps
Try apps that record your movements and sounds while you sleep. Gradually wakes you up with alarms during your lightest sleep cycle. Try Sleep Bot or Sleep Cycle for Andriod or iOS.
Changing screen color spectrum
Adjusting the brightness and color spectrum of your computer or phone screen at night will improve your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.
- f.lux is free software that warms up your computer display at night, to match your indoor lighting.
- Night Shift is a feature on iPhones (iOS 9.3 and above) that shifts the color spectrum of your iPhone or iPad display at night.