For many students, the key to making a successful transition from high school senior to college freshman hinges on their ability to adapt to a series of major life changes. Some of these changes include becoming more independent, taking on more responsibility, and becoming more accountable for their actions and choices.
However, perhaps the most agonizing change college students struggle with involves them rearranging their sleeping habits. While they might have been able to burn the midnight oil back in high school, they’ll soon discover that being a college student, and a night owl, can often hurt a freshman’s GPA.
Therefore, the following series of blogs will attempt to guide students through the process of becoming a morning person, starting with suggestions on changing your bedtime routine.
Step One: Changing Your Bedtime Routine
- Don’t eat any heavy meals or junk food after 7p.m. Unfortunately, everything you consume after this point will only make you feel more restless, bloated, and more susceptible to indigestion and heartburn, both of which will keep you up at night.
- Don't drink any drinks that contain high amounts of caffeine or sugar after 6p.m. Forget the pop and energy drinks, instead try drinking decaf tea, a glass of water or milk.
- Set a bedtime. Every evening designate a set bedtime and make a commitment to sticking to it.
- Turn the temperature down a few degrees in your bedroom. The cooler your bedroom is the more of a chance you'll have of getting a good night’s sleep.
- Leave your drapes slightly open. Leave your drapes open just far enough so that some morning sunlight can come into your room. Waking up in a dark room is only good for inspiring you to go back to sleep.
- Relocate your alarm. Move your alarm from your bedside to somewhere else across your bedroom. Then when your alarm does go off, you’ll have no choice but to get out of bed to turn it off.
- Consider a hot bath to unwind. If you have a bathtub, consider taking a nice quiet warm bath before bedtime. This will help you unwind.
- Turn off the electronics. Don’t watch television, listen to loud music, or surf the web at least a half-hour before your bedtime. Activities such as these will only stimulate your brain activity and make it more difficult for you to fall asleep.
- Try rediscovering reading at bedtime. Throwing yourself into a good book right before bedtime will help you relax and settle into a peaceful sleep. And if you suffer from mind racing, try reading aloud to help you relax.
- Resist the temptation to nap during the day. Although taking a nap might make you feel refreshed at the time, later on you’ll be too wound up to fall asleep. The reason is because you’ve thrown your sleep cycle out of sync. Then when it does come time for you to go to bed, you’ll be doing more tossing and turning than sleeping.
In closing, anytime you make a major change in your schedule, it’s natural for your mind and body to put up some resistance. So give yourself a few weeks for this new bedtime routine to become your new normal.