Young adults need to sleep for around 7-9 hours each night. However, deadlines, early work shifts and nights out can all detract from both the quality and quantity of sleep you get. If you’re tired of feeling tired, try implementing some of these strategies to help you sleep better:
Despite the name, this has very little to do with being clean when you get into bed (although that can’t hurt either). Sleep hygiene is all about the atmosphere and routine that surrounds your bedtime.
When you’re a student, you’ll often study, eat, relax, and sleep all in the same place. Unless you’re particularly tidy, things can soon become chaotic and negatively impact your sleep pattern.
Make sure you have a comfortable bed, tidy room, darkness, and quiet. It will work wonders.
Useful tip: A sleep mask and earplugs can help create a relaxing environment. Just make sure you don’t sleep through your alarm!
When routines get messed with, and life’s stresses get in the way, sleep can sometimes be elusive. No matter how long you lay there wishing the night’s sweet embrace will take you, you just can’t seem to drift off. Stresses aside, there are a few things you can do to help you get to sleep.
You should try and limit your caffeine, tobacco and alcohol in the evening. Each can negatively impact your rest. The same is true for phone and computer screens. Additionally, try not to eat a big meal 2-3 hours before you go to bed.
Useful tip: If you need to use your phone or computer before you sleep, use a blue light filter setting to minimise the disruption to your sleep pattern.
Life isn’t always the same every day, and that’s often exciting. However, an erratic schedule can play havoc with your sleep patterns.
Your ‘circadian rhythm’ (essentially your internal clock) needs a regular sleep and wake time to keep you functioning at your best. Even if you’ve not slept well the night before, avoid the temptation of having a lie-in. The same goes for the weekend - try to stick to your routine and wake up as close to your weekday time as possible.
Useful tip: Apps such as Sleep Cycle can help you find your natural sleep rhythm and wake up feeling rested.
A good nap is a truly beautiful thing. Providing you do it right, they provide several benefits. It can make you feel more alert and relaxed, and improve your mood. However, napping for too long during the day can seriously impact your sleep pattern at night.
Nap for a maximum of 20-30 minutes, and don’t do it too close to bedtime. Make sure you have a relaxing environment that you can gently doze off in for a few minutes.
Useful tip: Try meditating instead of napping; it has many of the same great benefits.
One of the best ways to fall asleep is to be truly tired when you go to bed. Exercise is a great contributor to this and has a wide range of other physical and mental benefits.
As little as 10 minutes of exercise can improve your sleep on a night, particularly once you get into a regular routine. Try walking or cycling and see how you go. Just remember not to do it too close to bedtime, as it can leave you feeling more awake once you’re done.
Useful tip: If you’re new to running, the Couch to 5K programme is a great way to get started.
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