I've never stayed up past 12 a.m. on a daily basis. Starting college, I didn't realize how much studying is required for me to keep up with the lectures that I would stay in the library until 2 a.m. without noticing how much time has gone by. Clearly not healthy, I knew I had to try to gradually sleep early. I say gradually because, on days where I force my self to sleep by 12, I lie awake until 2 or 3, the time that my body is used to sleeping by. So gradually getting back to 12, I'll be able to get the ideal eight hours of sleep I need.
I don't understand how people pull all-nighters, especially on a school day. The one time I did for a Latin Convention project, I felt like I was literally dying from exhaustion. For those night-owls, here are some tips I've acquired throughout the years.
1. Drink tea — decaf, of course
Green tea has the amino acid L-theanine which naturally reduces stress and improves the length and quality of sleep. I typically only drink organic green tea. It relaxes me when the hot liquid goes down my throat, especially in the winter. I fall asleep pretty quickly afterward. I would also try Yogi Bedtime tea.
2. Set timers
I lose track of time quite easily when I'm studying. Set reminders/alarms to eat, take a break and go to sleep. Fortunately, there's a bedtime app on iPhones installed to keep track of your sleep cycle and plenty of apps out there to do the same.
3. Get your exercise in
Try to go to the gym every day. I find that on days that I go to the gym, I sleep earlier and better, probably because I'm just tired. It's also a great way to release any stress that your mind and body may have. Stretch into yoga and let your heart pump your blood for better circulation.
4. #SelfCare #SkinCare
I absolutely love skin care. I have oily, acne-prone skin so I'm very picky about what I apply to my face. I love the feeling of cool masks and the soothing fragrance they have. Lay down on your bed with a sheet mask on and think happy thoughts.
5. Get a massage
I often feel stiff and experience back and shoulder pain which makes sleeping uncomfortable at times or simply takes much longer to fall asleep. It's definitely worth going to a masseuse, sitting down on a massage chair, or getting a friend to massage your back, especially since the most tension tends to be upon your shoulders and back when we carry our backpacks and sit through classes the majority of the day.
According to the National Sleep Foundation, ASMR, autonomous sensory meridian response, describes "a feeling of euphoric tingling and relaxation that can come over someone when he or she watches certain videos or hears certain sounds." Many of these videos are quiet, focusing on everyday sounds that we often do not notice which end up being quite calming. I discovered ASMR over the summer and found them interesting and effective for me such as tapping sounds. However, I DO NOT like eating/mouth sounds. Ew.
7. Go to bed with a good dream in mind
Close your eyes and think of something or someone that you love. Picture yourself where you want to be, somewhere where you will be stress-free with the people you want to be and let yourself dream of that place. I fall asleep to dreams of my family vacationing together, a job that I love, spending time with laughing babies, starting a clinic in Bangladesh, and all the hopes I want to accomplish in my lifetime. It's peaceful to dream of good things. Let yourself float into your fantasies.