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HealthMatters: Sleep

Struggling to sleep?

You may find that during your time at university your sleep is disrupted. This could be as a result of one or a number of factors - diet, late nights, stress, lack of routine and change of environment are common suspects. Not getting enough good quality sleep can have a huge impact on your wellbeing. 

 

                                              

 

The good news is that there are some easy small changes you can implement that will make a big difference:

- Don't go on your phone in bed. This is one of the biggies. I know it's tempting to scroll mindlessly through Insta when you get into bed, but research shows that the blue light that is emitted from phone screens inhibits melatonin production which means that not only may you struggle to get to sleep, but the quality of your sleep is reduced. 

Keep to a routine and enjoy some relaxing activities. Ok, this one is easier said than done during exam season say, but it's still important that you try to keep to a routine. We are really strict when it comes to children and routines before bed time - they might get a warm bath, a book read to them and then lights out - no technology. Adults are no different in their needs - we still need to relax and have a routine to sleep well. Try a warm bath, try reading or listening to some relaxing music before bed. 

- Watch your caffeine and alcohol intake. That latte you had tin your 5pm lecture has a half life of about 4-6 hours, which means that at 11pm you may still have some caffeine in your system keeping you alert. And although research shows that alcohol can help you to fall asleep faster, it inhibits Rapid Eye Movement (REM) sleep which is the part of sleep where you dream and most restorative processes are thought to occur. Missing out or reducing this section of sleep can lead to poor concentration and tiredness the next day. 

Check out some of these resources for more tips om getting a good night's kip:


NHS advice on insomnia

Watch a video from Mind on tips on getting sleep

A self-help guide on sleep