It’s a new year; a fresh start providing new opportunities to prepare for the future.
Students will be making their late night visits to the library, accompanied by extended sessions of reading towards dissertations, battling work deadlines, and revising for exams at the end of the year. Final year students will be busy finding graduate opportunities - making sure they’ve got the best start to their future careers.
Trying to fit a social life in and amongst this busy schedule can leave students ‘burning the candle at both ends’, and not getting enough rest before important days. However, a good night’s sleep before a job interview or exam can determine our performance on the day.
Transform your bedtime routine
Making small changes to the way we prepare for bed could mean the difference between: sleeping like a baby and a restless night. A recent report by Aviva revealed a third of adults in the UK want a better night’s sleep, and that a fifth suffered from insomnia last year.
Stephen Buckley, from the mental health charity Mind, emphasises that sleep problems can “affect your ability to carry out usual day-to-day tasks such as studying, going to work and carrying out daily chores.” He continued by highlighting how poor sleep can impact our ability to concentrate – which is bad news for students.
We spoke to Neil Shah from The Stress Management Society, who points out how “sleep, like water and food, is vital for the maintenance of physical and mental health.” We collated some of his top tips into a handy guide for those wanting to improve their beauty sleep.
Take care of your personal health
Exercising and watching what we eat can be a struggle, especially if there’s a deadline the following day. Get together with a friend and go for a light jog – not only will it get you in shape, but it will help to relieve stress.
Avoid heavy dinners, caffeine and sugar before bed, but don’t allow yourself to sleep on an empty stomach either.
It's all about time
The body adapts quickly to routine. Going to bed and rising at the same time each day helps to establish a stable sleep pattern.
Ditch the devices
Try and avoid the Netflix marathons and sitting on your phone late at night; exposing yourself to bright lights tricks the body into thinking it’s time to be awake.
Don't worry, be happy
The thought of not getting work or revision done as deadlines fast approach can leave us feeling stressed and not getting to sleep. Shah recommends “If you find yourself waking up at night thinking about things you have to do, keep a pad and pen close by to note them down so you can return to sleep untroubled.”
Establish a new bedtime ritual
Finally, Shah concludes with this important stage of the routine: “Have a bedtime ritual. For instance, lie face up in bed with arms and legs slightly spread. Close your eyes. Sense the subtle sensations in your body. Focus on a point at your third eye – in between eyebrows and slightly up. Imagine a black hole and sink into it. Or count sheep!”Setting up a bedtime routine is proven to significantly improve mental and physical wellbeing, which is great for those studying or getting ready for an interview. Students who’ve got important dates ahead in the new year should try following these simple steps, to help feel more awake and refreshed.
Have you got any tips or tricks for a better night's sleep? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.