Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Sleep After Summer: Establishing a Routine

Summer nights are a great time. You may enjoy taking long drives with the windows rolled down, cruising down the empty roads. You may prefer going for a late night dip in the pool. Whatever tickles your fancy, you are sure to relate. Summer is a time for staying up late and taking advantage of not having class early in the morning. But there is one problem with all of this- your sleep schedule gets completely thrown off. It becomes hard to get back on track, and as fall semester approaches you wonder how you are going to regulate your sleep schedule. Luckily, there are tips available that can help you get back to a healthy sleep routine:
  • Create a consistent sleep schedule (wake within the same hour daily, go to sleep within the same hour daily)
  • Expose yourself to sunlight or other bright light each morning
  • Make sure your bed is only associated with sleep and sex
  • Avoid taking naps (and if you do nap, keep it to no more than 20-30 minutes)
  • Avoid going to bed until you are drowsy
  • Exercise regularly, but not within 2 hours of bedtime
  • If you snack before bedtime, make it something light without a lot of sugar
  • Avoid alcohol and smoking within 2 hours of bedtime
  • Avoid caffeine within 6 hours prior to bedtime
Sleep Environment

Even if you don't implement all of these tips into your routine right away, starting with one or two of the listed suggestions at a time can have a significant impact on your sleep. Try focusing on your overall environment, too. Make sure that distracting electronic devices are put away prior to bedtime. In addition, it may be helpful to establish a relaxing nighttime routine. You may enjoy taking a bubble bath with a good book before you sleep. Or even try utilizing lavender essential oils to promote relaxation. Everyone might be a little different, so try out a few things and see what works best for you.

Are you too tired to function?

The beginning of a semester can be very overwhelming. You may live in a new place, meeting new classmates and professors, and probably overwhelmed with a stack of syllabi and future assignments. Therefore, you need to be on your A-game. How will you know if you are on track or not? Well if you relate to any of the following statements, you may be too tired to function:
  • You can’t get out of bed when the alarm sounds
  • A regular sleep schedule has not been established
  • When you wake up at night, you can’t get back to sleep
  • You use sleeping pills or alcohol to help you sleep
  • You feel exhausted from lack of sleep
  • You frequently sleep in or take long daytime naps
Questions or Concerns?
For more information on sleep or would like a one-on-one consultation, please contact the Health Education Resource Center by calling (217) 581-7786, or email herc-genhlth@eiu.edu.
If you would like to speak to a medical professional, please call the Health Service Medical Clinic at (217) 581-3013. You may also set up an appointment online through the MyHealth Portal in PAWS.

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