#DolphinsLiveWell: “To Sleep, Perchance to….Feel Great!”
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More stories from Haley Quinlan
February 11, 2016
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As the weather gets nicer, we spend more time outdoors, thereby pushing our homework/study time further into the evening. This means that something’s gotta give, and most likely that will be sleep time. If you add in end of semester projects, papers, and exams, it’s a wonder students get any sleep at all! Well, we are here to tell you that getting enough sleep (7-8 hours per night), especially at this time of the semester is crucial to your overall health and success!
Did you know that adequate sleep leads to:
- Better health: There’s a link between insufficient sleep and health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes, and obesity.
- Increase in pain tolerance: Studies have shown a link between sleep loss and lower pain threshold.
- Lower risk of injury: Sleeping enough might actually keep you safer. Sleeping six or less hours a night for two weeks leads one to function as if they had a BAC of 0.10
- Better mood: Not getting enough sleep affects your emotional regulation
- Better weight control: Part of the problem is behavioral. If you’re overtired, you might be less likely to have the energy to go for that jog or cook a healthy dinner after work.
The other part is physiological. People who are tired are just plain hungrier — and they seem to crave high-fat and high-calorie foods specifically
- Clearer thinking: People who are sleep-deprived are substantially worse at solving logic or math problems
- Better memory: If you don’t get enough sleep, memory does not get stored correctly and is potentially lost.
- Stronger immunity: you can’t go wrong getting eight hours of sleep when possible.
Want better sleep habits?
- Exercise daily….but not close to bedtime!
- If you have trouble sleeping at night, avoid naps during the day, especially in the afternoon.
- Stick to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake up time, even on the weekends. This helps to regulate your body’s clock and could help you fall asleep and stay asleep for the night.
- Practice a relaxing bedtime ritual . A relaxing, routine activity right before bedtime helps separate your sleep time from activities that can cause excitement, stress or anxiety which can make it more difficult to fall asleep, get sound and deep sleep, or remain asleep.
- Environment helps! Your room should be cool, between 60 and 67 degrees, and light/noise-free…consider blackout curtains, eye shades, earplugs, “white noise” such as fans and other devices.
- Avoid “blue-light”: This emanates from computers, phones, clocks, and even TV screens and continuously activates the brain!
- Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
- Avoid alcohol, cigarettes, and heavy meals in the evening, especially two to three hours before bedtime.
- Wind down. Your body needs time to shift into sleep mode, so spend the last hour before bed doing a calming activity.
- If you can’t sleep, get up and do something relaxing until you feel tired. Use your bed only for sleep and intimacy to strengthen the association between bed and sleep.