But First, Sleep

But First, Sleep

Sleep is like a best friend; start giving that relationship the attention it needs.

Molly Goebel

Sleep always seems to be the first priority to be pushed aside when things come up. Whether you procrastinate on homework, watch "just one more episode", or decide to go out late most nights, sleep is frequently disregarded for its importance. Especially during the academic year, students are highly known for having horrible sleep patterns. It's time to fix that!

The main issue that is causing people to have negative relationships with sleep is because sleep is not prioritized and is not always considered as important as other things when it is extremely important! Sleep has so many health benefits, just look it! There is so much to be gained from a good night's sleep! And if you don't look after it, well you're going to start missing out on those benefits! Prioritizing good sleep is the self-love we all could use more of!

Not to mention, having a good relationship with sleep just makes you feel better in general! It literally is a best friend because it helps you get what's best for you and wants you to be well.

The easiest way to start bettering your sleep is to try to get 7-9 hours each night. Some of you probably just went "I got three hours of sleep last night and that was a good night," but no matter what you think about functioning on minimal hours of sleep you know you could and should be doing better. Make time for your sleep. Know what amount of sleep makes you feel the best. I know people had to use the word "bedtime" but that's the key - set yourself an "unofficial bedtime." Forget the negative, "child-like" connotations and recognize that "unofficial bedtime" just means you are being aware and putting yourself and your sleep first. Even though you may not be tired at that time some nights, get your body into a routine. That way your sleep clock will naturally adapt and your circadian rhythms will start to match your schedule.

It's no fun being half-awake every day or worrying about falling asleep in class. Don't put yourself in that situation and just prioritize what your body needs from sleep. Personally, I can tell a huge difference from going to bed even just an hour later! Or if I stay up late one night I may not feel it the next day but it'll hit me for a few days after that. I don't know about you, but I like feeling well-rested and motivated to start the day, or at least feel like I had a good, deep sleep last night.

It's time to start making your sleep time worth it!

I'm sure I'm not the only one that feels like they don't always sleep good. This past month I could tell I had not been sleeping the best I could be. I always felt exhausted and worn out and overwhelmed. Even though I had been getting a good quantity of sleep, it wasn't necessarily a good quality of sleep (which is almost more important, in my opinion). So, even though I had been sleeping decent amounts, I never thought my sleep would be the cause of me becoming constantly stressed to the point where I had this breaking point of "feeling weird" mentally and physically and I didn't know where this unexplainable feeling was coming from.

I decided to try to switch something up and see if it made a difference. I always give myself time at the end of each day to chill and separate myself from academic stresses. And I had commonly filled that time watching episode after episode of whatever tv-show was holding my attention at the time. Now I still watch tv shows or movies to relax a bit after a long day, but I decided I would restrict myself from watching them the hour before I go to bed to see if it made a difference. Instead, I've been reading in that time and let me just say it's made all the difference. Not only am I prioritizing time to leisure read and am getting through books I've been wanting to read for months but "never have the time," but it has also helped me prepare my body and mind to get ready to sleep. Reading is said to naturally raise the melatonin levels in your brain, a hormone that is commonly used to help insomnia.

After just a week of changing what I do before I go to bed, I can honestly say I'm beginning to sleep better. I feel more ready to sleep at the end of the day, I don't wake up in the middle of the night as much, and in the morning I feel like I've had a deep sleep and am ready to attack the day.

Finding a routine that promotes a better night's rest for you is one of the best changes you can make! It can be as simple as putting your phone aside for the last half hour before going to bed. Avoiding electronics and technology before sleeping is one of the biggest factors for sleeping well. The light emitted from your phone or computer or television actually prevent you from naturally becoming tired and prohibits your body from preparing itself to sleep.

Another small tip that helps you start improving your sleep is to workout regularly. Looking back, I always slept the best during my sports seasons because I was on a consistent schedule and was working out daily. Simply, your body is tired from exercising which contributes to you feeling more in need of sleep and allows you to fully appreciate being able to completely rest at the end of the day. Sleep is essential for repairing muscles, so if you're working out but not getting sufficient sleep you could be susceptible to injuring yourself from not letting your muscles repair themselves. Making the most of your day allows you to make the most of your sleep at night. Don't run yourself out and load your day unhealthily, but fill your day so by the end of the day you feel content relaxing and ready to put your body and mind at peace.

Long story short: prioritize sleep, allow your mind to unwind, challenge your mind and body during the day and let it rest at night. There are so many natural ways to improve your sleep before talk of supplements needs to be brought up. Take a warm shower at night, stretch, meditate, find a good temperature your body likes to sleep in (ideal is 65-69 degrees), don't nap during the day, and get yourself into a routine. All these things can go a long way in terms of preparing yourself to sleep.

Your sleep wants to love you, so give it reasons to and love your sleep back just as much. No more "I'm not tired when I should go to bed, but then I never want to get out of bed in the morning." Once you can start conquering those past nights of inefficient sleep, you are able to start conquering your days!

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
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