Newswise — TORONTO, Aug. 15, 2012 --- Students’ first year at university or college is often jam packed with a lot of classes, assignments and social events. Finding ways to get enough sleep at night can be a little tricky for students who are constantly on the go. Professor Colleen Carney, a sleep disorder expert at Ryerson University’s Sleep and Depression Lab offers simple, effective ways that can be used to help students sleep well.
1. Get a good night’s sleep
Don’t deprive yourself of sleep to get more done. Sleep deprivation is a major brain and energy killer—consider scaling back your to-do list and find new ways to manage your time, and above all else, get some rest. You will do better on your test and pay more attention in class if you are well rested. Getting a good night’s sleep can also prevent more serious sleep and mood problems from developing.
2. Sleep schedules: “Not just for kids anymore!”
Sleep is a major factor in mood and productivity. With a schedule full of late-night parties and studying, you will quickly find yourself deprived of a few hours night after night. A variable bedtime and wake-up time throughout the week can produce jetlag-like symptoms of fatigue, insomnia and poor mood. Adults experience the same problems as young children when they have variable sleep schedules (i.e. increased emotional problems and difficulty pay attention and sleeping).
3. Avoid “crashing”
Students have easily accessible fast foods that initially boost mood but then produce longer- term sugar crashes, sluggishness and bloating. Eating healthier meals and snacks with plenty of fruits and vegetables will stabilize your blood sugar, rather than cause it to spike, which means a happier and more energetic you.
4. Should I count sheep?
An overactive mind often occurs when there is no time set aside to mentally unwind from the day’s activities. Take some time earlier in the evening to make to-do lists and deal with the day’s unfinished business. Set aside time during the hour before bed to wind down and relax. NEVER do wakeful activities in your bed, such as talking on the phone, texting, working on the computer, reading, watching television or studying in bed. Doing things in bed that are done when we are awake is a sure-fire way to train your mind and body to be alert in bed.
5. When all else fails—get out of your bed
If you find yourself lying in bed with visions of student loans, impending tests and other stressors running through your head – get out of bed. Leave your room (or at least the bed) and do something that relaxes you. Only return to bed when you are sleepy. Being upset or awake in the place where you should be resting trains your mind and body to be upset and awake in your bed.
EXPERT AVAILABLE FOR INTERVIEWS:
Professor Colleen Carney
Director, Sleep and Depression Lab
Professor, Department of Psychology
Co-author, Quiet Your Mind and Get to Sleep (New Harbinger Publications, 2010)
Office: 416-979-5000 x2177
Office: 416-979-5000 x 7161
For more back-to-school tips, please visit: http://www.ryerson.ca/news/media/spotlight/bts2012/index.html