Incoming Freshman, Please Prioritize Sleep
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Health Wellness

Incoming Freshman, Please Prioritize Sleep

That nap you took after your 10 a.m. does not replace a full 8 hours.

woman sleeping

One of the biggest lessons of my freshman year of college was the importance of restful sleep. During school, your time is so limited that it almost feels like you have three options: sleep, social life, or good grades and you can only choose two. But as the year went on, prioritizing good sleep often allowed me to have both a social life and keep up my grades.

In college, you will be surrounded by people who are constantly stressed. Unfortunately, many people have very unhealthy ways of coping with stress. I have seen a lot of people sacrifice sleep to get things done. They keep doing this until either they get to a break, or their body shuts down physically or mentally. Lack of sleep takes a huge toll on your body. Not only are there short-term effects such as lack of focus, irritability, and increased susceptibility to stress, but it can take a toll on your body that will have long-term consequences later on. You are also more likely to get sick and less able to fight off sickness, plus tons of other consequences. I have lost track of the times that a lack of sleep has also caused a whole host of mental health problems. It has a huge effect on a person's mood and mental health.

But how can sleep really help you get things done? Doesn't it take up time that you could spend getting homework done or hanging out with friends? Maybe, but it also frees up time. Getting the sleep you need will allow you to get things done faster. You will be able to focus more and get homework or reading done faster. And you will focus more in class, which hopefully will mean less time that you need to study for a test.

Now for some practical ways to prioritize restful sleep. Making sleep a priority goes far beyond forming good habits when it comes to sleep.

Some of the less obvious ways to prioritize sleep involves things like not procrastinating and managing your time well. Not only are these extremely important life lessons, but they are an important part of getting enough sleep. Not procrastinating will allow you to have the time to sleep and be less stressed about what you must accomplish. Stress over procrastinating and not accomplishing as much as I should have also contributed to less restful sleep on more than one occasion. Managing your time allows you to get things done in a timely manner. You should also develop a schedule that helps you get homework done. If you work better in short bursts of time, manage your time so you can do that. If you like to work hard for a few hours at a time, like me, figure out a schedule that allows you to do that.

Along that line, you should also get into the habit of going to bed and waking up at a set time. This will help you get to sleep and hopefully sleep well. One of the frustrating things that I learned was that a week of going to bed later than usual due to not prioritizing sleep and not managing my time well would mess up my sleep schedule for several days to come. This would mean less sleep and a more tired me.

You will also most likely have to get used to a roommate or at least some noisy neighbors. One of the ways I was able to get good sleep even when my roommate was up late was investing in a good sleeping mask and some ear plugs. I would also resort to taking melatonin or nighttime tea to help me fall asleep. Having these things really helped me get the sleep I needed.

Incoming freshman, sleep is extremely important to doing well at school and still having a social life. I am convinced that getting sleep has been one of the main reasons I have been able to handle keeping good grades, having a social life, going to church, and having a job, not to mention keep my stress level low. You will have a lot of choices in college, so please choose to get the sleep you need to do well.

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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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