7 Eye-Opening Tips To Get More Than Enough Sleep Each Night

7 Eye-Opening Tips To Get More Than Enough Sleep Each Night

These tips are so effective that they work on school nights, too.

Suffering from lack of sleep? Depending on coffee to get you through the day? Struggling to keep your eyes open during classes the next day? I've definitely felt that way before, so here are seven ways to get more than three hours of sleep every night.

1. Turn off your phone notifications.

One of the things that causes a lack of sleep is your phone. For me, I can't stop looking at it. I get distracted, especially when I see new notifications pop up. Most of the time, these messages aren't even relevant to my schoolwork. They just serve as a hindrance. When you're working, make sure to turn off all notifications so you won't be disturbed by your phone. This way, you can get work done faster and go to sleep earlier.

2. Put your phone far away.

If you are still looking at your phone even when notifications are off, maybe it's time to put it away until you're done with everything. You can either put it in a separate room, or if you don't have enough self-control, tell someone else to hold it for you until you're done with all your work. Once you've finished everything, you can ask for it back, and if time permits, use it for a while. Just make sure to keep track of time so you go to sleep just like you scheduled.

3. Do homework in order from your most important subject to your least important.

Usually, I do math (and math-related) subjects first because my brain gradually gets more tired, and it's better to finish all math work first. Then I do my other assignments, starting off with more challenging and thought-provoking subjects to easier and simpler subjects. Because of this, it usually takes me less time to finish everything because my brain won't be as tired, and I can go to bed earlier.

4. Once it's past a certain time, just stop.

Usually, after 10:30 p.m., my brain just stops. Anything I do after that is not good quality. Everyone obviously has their own time when their brain wants to shut down for the day, so make sure you know when your time is to stop all work after that. Get some sleep, and then if you want, wake up early to finish everything else. Usually, I wake up normally and then finish all the work in the extra minutes I have before class or during lunch.

5. Have a daily bedtime routine.

Having a clear bedtime routine every night permits you to fall asleep faster and better. For me, my routine is to finish all my homework for that night, go on my phone for a few minutes and, if time permits, read a few pages of a book. Reading a book helps to clear my mind and makes me feel more sleepy. However, do whatever is best for you; this can include listening to music or drinking a cup of tea.

6. Don't drink caffeine at least six hours before sleeping.

This one may sound obvious, but it's hard to accomplish sometimes. Studies have shown that drinking a cup of coffee zero, three or six hours before bed disturbs sleep dramatically. Besides, you might feel the effects of the caffeine wearing off early on, leading to tiredness and drowsiness for the rest of the day.

7. Go to sleep at about the same time every night.

This is similar to having a daily bedtime routine, but it is important to make sure to sleep at approximately the same time every night. This tells your body when to sleep and when to wake up, which is important for getting more sleep. Don't vary your sleep times. I had a hard time adjusting after long breaks because I often slept after midnight and woke up past 10 a.m. Although I forced myself to go to sleep earlier when school first started, I realized that I just couldn't.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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Comorbidity Is Real, People: Alcohol And Anorexia

It's like putting together gasoline and a flame, not the best idea

I'm sure as we all know, attending college on its own is a pain in the you know what...but attending college with an Eating Disorder? Don’t even get me started. I struggled with Anorexia and Bulimia ever since sophomore year of high school and went through treatment my senior year. I thought my journey through treatment would be the hardest thing I'd ever go through, but boy was I wrong.

I spent my summer before college living the life I always wished I could live during the darkest days of Anorexia. Just months out of the program, I went out, drank, partied, and allowed myself to eat whatever I wanted. Bottom line, Alcohol equaled eating without thinking. During the day, although making great progress in my recovery, disordered thoughts surrounded me when it came to each meal. At night, when I was out with my friends and alcohol was in the mix, there was no limit to what I could eat. During this time, I had no idea I had a problem; I was just doing what everyone else around me was doing, sipping and having fun. Because of my experience with alcohol in the summer, I thought I was an expert when it came time to drinking in college. This is when it all went spiralling downhill.

Think about the stress that comes with beginning college and multiply that by infinity. That's what I felt. I had to figure out how to adjust to a completely new life while also adjusting to the still lingering Eating Disorder. My first night out at school, I blacked out. I thought this would be a one time thing thanks to my excitement around beginning a new chapter. Once again, I was utterly wrong. Drunk nights turned into days, and days turned into weeks. Any opportunity I had, I would drink. In the back of my mind I knew that my consumption was because I could finally eat without guilt, but I convinced myself it was because I was in college and that's what everyone did. Not only did alcohol help curb my anxiety around food, it gave me the confidence I never had. I was able to love myself, reduce my social anxiety, and on top of that, EAT? Sign me up.

Each morning after a blackout, I would promise myself and those around me that I would try to never black out again. I would monitor my consumption and make sure that I wasn't falling asleep in a bin of food before bed. I lied. The hardest part about this was that although the vodka may have kicked anxiety's butt while I was shoving food in my mouth the night before, it was one hundred times worse the next morning when I realized what I had consumed before. Knowing the damage the Eating Disorder and I had done, I wouldn't allow myself to eat all day until it was time to drink again the next night. I couldn't afford to eat anything when I was sober because I wasn't sure what would be consumed when drunk.

The vicious cycle continued for months, starving all day, drinking and eating all night, waking up in a random person's room covered in regret the next morning only to remember nothing. Not only were my friends getting tired of playing mom and waking up to texts asking what happened the night before, but I was getting tired of feeling like I was hit by a bus of guilt. My grades suffered, my relationships suffered, and my body suffered. The number one issue that came with this was the fact that I had no idea I had a problem. I had no time to realize there was an issue because the second I was sober again, I would drink. Any opportunity I had to fill my void and to allow my mind to be free, I would use alcohol to do it. A food truck at school? Let's drink for it. A talent show with food at it? Let's drink for it. A night in on a Wednesday? Lets drink for it.

Before I knew it, I looked in the mirror and saw someone I didn't recognize. My face was swollen, my body was stretched out, my eyes were sunken, and who knows what was going on inside. My body had suffered enough while struggling with Anorexia; alcohol could have only made it worse. Oh and did I mention that purging didn't stop either? When I wasn't able to become drunk enough to forget what I ate, my good friend Bulimia would ease my mind. No one knew that I was thinking this. Yes, people saw my actions while drunk. But only I was aware of the deeper issue.

I had learned the hard way. I entered college without being fully recovered. I used alcohol as a new form of control because I no longer could control my eating. I was still starving and the only thing that would cure my starvation was alcohol. It took an entire year for me to take a step back and look at my reflection and realize what I had done. I barely remembered my first year of college. How could I let a year go and end it to only remember the hangovers? I remembered what I went through to get from my lowest weight to where I was before entering college - the effort I put into recovery. I needed to find that strong person again and fight two times harder. It took time, a lot of time. I can’t say exactly what helped me stop relying on alcohol to eat each meal, but I believe in balance. Everything happens for a reason and I know now, that I am sober, that what I struggled with was a test of God that I failed before I passed. Each person likes to have control in a different way, and I used alcohol to feel control when the Eating Disorder could no longer do so. I know now that I don't need to drink to feel comfortable with myself, I know now that I can still drink without having to black out and be able to eat, and I know now that although recovery is hard, it is worth it. I’ll never get back my freshman year of college but I know that getting better allowed me to live the next few years to the best of my ability.

Cover Image Credit: http://www.lucidatreatment.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/09/SelectiveEatingDisorderYouAreWhatYouDontEat-e1410399822561.jpg

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When You Start Counseling, You Learn These 5 Important Things About Yourself

It's okay to admit you need help.

After only a few months into my first semester of sophomore year, I decided, with the encouragement of my family and friends, to speak with a counselor about my mental health. To take this first step was a huge leap for my self-confidence and esteem, as I usually do not discuss my feelings with others -- especially strangers. Before I went home for a few weeks of winter break, I called the counseling services office, made an appointment and took this little, but scary, decision to admit my problems. For the longest time, I did not want to admit I was struggling with my mental health. It was almost embarrassing in my mind to seek help. Now, already weeks into counseling, I am confident in my decision to speak with someone who can help, even if they don't completely understand or know my entire life story. I've learned a few things along the way about myself, and I now wish I began my journey a bit earlier.

1. I need someone to listen.

I was relying on close family members and relationships to solve my problems without working towards them myself. I thought I needed to tell someone else my problems, but I really needed someone who I wasn't close with to listen -- no preconceived notions, emotions, or past memories that would affect their advice or my reception of their words. This improved my relationship with others and myself, so I wasn't beating myself up over being a "burden."

2. I know myself.

After multiple questions from my counselor, I realized I have a high level of self-awareness. When you're constantly reflecting on your week, you realize many of your emotions, question some others and are completely clueless on a handful. I realized it is okay to not know why I feel a certain way, but it is equally important that I realize and acknowledge my feelings when they happen (even if it's days or a week later).

3. I still don't know what self-care means.

When my counselor asked, "What does self-care mean to you?" I truly couldn't give a strong answer besides "working out" or "watching T.V." She taught me that self-care includes so much more than simple activities, and it also doesn't have to last hours on end. For my busy-self, this was extremely reassuring to hear. I've started to add a few mindfulness activities into my life, from walking to class without my phone to spending a few minutes of deep breathing before I sleep. I'm still learning what self-care means -- it's a process.

4. I can say "no" to responsibilities.

Yes, since I've begun counseling, I've learned how to say "no" to responsibilities, people and life. I realized how one activity can have such a large impact on my entire well-being, mentally and physically. I often reflect on my current extracurriculars to see what makes me happy, then reevaluate the ones that bring me sadness, anger or stress. Stress can be positive, but the stress I was receiving from some of my extracurriculars were not beneficial to my life.

5. I am normal.

Every day may not be a good day, and I may struggle from time to time, but I know now I have something to fall back on each week. From my counseling sessions, I realized I am not the only who struggles with mental health. Some of my friends and family members also speak with others to relieve their stress and regain confidence. People enter counseling for many different reasons, but I am happy and lucky to say this experience has improved my daily life. I am normal for having feelings (and for not always being able to handle them).

I highly encourage others to seek counseling services at some point in their life. For more information about mental health, call 1‑877‑SAMHSA7 to speak with a real person about services in your area.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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