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Advice from Whitney Henley, Welness Coordinator


What is an important health habit for college students to follow?

Trouble sleeping can be very frustrating, especially in the context of a busy college lifestyle. But the good news is, there are lots of simple changes to try throughout the day—not just at bedtime—that will make a big difference! Start with one or two of these, and continue to make changes until you see results.

In the morning: Never oversleep because of a poor night’s sleep. This is pretty important. Although it feels good to try to “catch-up,” it will continue to throw off your body’s clock, so you’ll only

Whitney Henley
Whitney Henley

keep getting sleepy later and later at night.

During the day: Get some daylight, time outside and exercise. Just don’t exercise too close to bedtime (within about 4 hours), because exercise acts as a short-term stimulant. Avoid naps, as they’ll interfere with your ability to feel tired later.

In the evening: Establish a preferred bedtime. If you’ve been having trouble falling asleep, start this bedtime 30 minutes after you’ve been falling asleep naturally, even if this is super late at night. This will ensure you’re definitely tired when you get in bed. After a couple nights, you can start moving your bedtime earlier. Also, make the last hour before this set bedtime about winding down and relaxing (not about being productive).  And avoid drinking yourself to sleep, alcohol makes you sleepy initially, but then disrupts your sleep cycle later on to only wake you up more.

During the night: if you wake up and can’t fall asleep again for 15-30 minutes, get up, and do something boring until you’re sleepy again.

If you’re interested in learning more about how to deal with sleep problems, join us for a free Sleep Wellness Workshop on Wednesday, from 1 to 2 p.m., Oct. 23 in Ambrose Health Center, Room 2028.