Many students do not sleep well. Sometimes sleep problems are caused by factors outside our direct control, such as loud roommates, a medical condition, or living near a train track. More often than not, however, a student’s sleeping problem is caused by poor “sleep hygiene”, or poor choices about sleep that are within our control to alter.

Here is a list of practices conducive to good sleep, adapted from the American Academy of Sleep Medicine (2002):

  • Try to sleep only when you are drowsy.
  • If you are unable to fall asleep or stay asleep, leave your bedroom and engage in a quiet activity elsewhere. Do not permit yourself to fall asleep outside the bedroom. Return to bed when – and only when – you are sleepy. Repeat this process of often as necessary throughout the night.
  • Maintain a regular arise time, even on days off work and on weekends.
  • Use your bedroom only for sleep and relaxing activity.
  • Avoid napping during the daytime. If daytime sleepiness becomes overwhelming, limit nap time to a single nap of less than one hour, no later than 3PM.
  • Distract your mind. Lying in bed unable to sleep and frustrated needs to be avoided. Try reading or watching a videotape or listening to books on tape. It may be necessary to go into another room to do these.
  • Avoid caffeine within four to six hours of bedtime.
  • Avoid the use of nicotine close to bedtime or during the night.
  • Do not drink alcoholic beverages within four to six hours of bedtime.
  • While a light snack before bedtime can help promote sound sleep, avoid large meals.
  • Avoid strenuous exercise within six hours of bedtime.
  • Minimize light, noise, and extremes in temperature in the bedroom.

Please call the Counseling Center at 348-3863 if you need help improving your sleep.