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Sleep Hygiene: How to Sleep Well in College

December 17, 2020

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After attending multiple classes and putting in long hours studying, all you want to do is lay in bed and drift off into a peaceful slumber. As your head hits the pillow, you close your eyes, eager to get a good night's sleep so that you can wake up feeling refreshed and renewed. As the minutes tick by, you come to realize that no matter what you do it seems impossible to turn off your mind and fall asleep - what gives?

Believe it or not, there are many contributing factors that go into maximizing your sleep, including being mindful of the decisions that you make throughout each day. Studies have shown that the more you work on implementing sleep hygiene (habits that help you have a better night's sleep) into your daily routine, the better overall quality of sleep you'll have.

If you're ready to finally start sleeping well in college but aren't sure where to start, here are some ways that you can implement positive sleep hygiene habits into your everyday life:

Reset Your Sleep Cycle

In order to reset your sleep cycle, you'll need to commit to a time each night when you'll climb into bed without any distractions. You'll want to try and aim for a time that'll give you at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep. Even if you're not feeling tired at that set time, lay in bed anyways. Eventually, your internal sleep-wake cycle will begin to adjust, and your body will start feeling tired at the same time each night. 

Cut Down Your Caffeine Intake

If you're looking to improve your sleep, it may be time to give up your afternoon coffee. Caffeine is a stimulant, which can make it significantly harder for you to fall asleep and stay asleep at night. One study even found that consuming caffeine 6 hours prior to going to bed can cause a significant reduction in a person's total sleep time.

Person on their phone at night

Avoid Using Electronic Devices

Many of us have fallen into the bad habit of using our electronic devices right before bed. No matter if you enjoy catching up on your favorite television show, reading up on the latest news, or responding to messages from friends, staring at a screen is only going to hurt your chances of getting a good night's sleep. Many electronic devices emit blue light, which may affect your sleep by suppressing melatonin (a hormone that regulates your sleep-wake cycle). So the next time you hop into bed, turn your screen off in order to maximize your sleep. 

Try Deep Breathing

Not only can partaking in deep breathing exercises help to reduce your overall stress levels, but it can also be a key factor in getting a better night's sleep. When you're ready to go to bed, lay on your back, close your eyes, and place your hand on your stomach. Take slow deep breaths, inhaling through your nose and exhaling through your mouth. You'll find that your heart rate will slow down, your mind and body will relax, and your body will begin to drift off to sleep.

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Incorporate Exercise Into Your Day

As a student, it can be difficult to fit exercise into your busy schedule, but it's extremely important that you find time each day to do so. You've probably heard that exercise plays a crucial role in your overall health, but did you know that it also plays a major part in maximizing your sleep? In fact, one study found that people who perform 150 minutes of moderate activity or more each week have up to a 65% improvement in their overall sleep quality.

Though there are many different techniques that you can use to improve your sleep hygiene, we hope that these tips will help jumpstart your journey to a better quality of sleep and overall health. It's crucial that you, as a student, make sure that your health and wellness are taken care of before anything else. If you don't put the needs of your mind, body, and soul first, it's going to be difficult to be the best version of yourself in school as well as in your personal life.

Don't be afraid to experiment and try out some (or all) of these methods to find out what works best for your lifestyle, and for additional tips on how to fall asleep faster and enjoy your sleep, check out this report. Lastly, if you're looking for more ways to better your overall well being, take a look at this great article that discusses 10 self-care tips for college students.

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