Students are infamous for staying up late and consequently missing 9am lectures (sorry CCCU). But what if you’re part of that minority who can’t sleep even when you’re trying really hard to? Sometimes it’s stress, homesickness, noise or being uncomfortable that leaves you lying wide awake until 3am.
Sleep is essential for our bodies, just as much as air and water is. So, if you’re missing out on one of your body’s most important needs -scroll below for some helpful tips:
1. Address your issue
First address why you can’t sleep – is it because of noisy neighbours, anxieties about uni or you just can’t put your phone down?
Feeling emotional? Write your woes down on paper – it’s a great way to get things out of your system. In the morning, when you’re clear headed, you can go about setting things straight. If that fails, try and speak to someone you can confide in.
Ps… Did you now CCCU host drop in sessions with wellbeing advisors?
Noisy neighbours? Generally if you’re in CCCU accommodation there are on site security guards you can call upon if next door’s rendition of Dancing Queen is keeping you up.
In the university’s accommodation Licence Agreement section C.5 clearly states what is acceptable and what is not:
If you’re renting private accommodation and don’t feel comfortable addressing the people making the noise directly, then Canterbury City Council are your go to for noise complaints. Citizen’s Advice also have a good step by step guide to go about noise complaints.
Uni stresses? No one likes to admit that they’re struggling, but honesty is the best policy. Email or organise to meet with your tutors/lecturers, to discuss anything that you’re having problem’s with. You’re not paying £9,250 for nothing!
Addicted to your black mirror? Apple’s iOS 12 has a new feature of ‘App Limits’ and ‘Downtime’. The update essentially allows you to restrict the time you spend on your phone – especially at night!
If you’d just ignore the limits, like me, then I’d suggest (if you use your phone as an alarm) to invest in a physical alarm clock. That way you can turn your phone off at night without the worry you’re going to be late to your lecture.
The Independent have even created an easy student guide for buying one.
2. Dos and Don’ts before bed
- If you love a brew before bed, make it a decaf one – no buts.
- Netflix and chill (literal chill) is a no-no. Watching telly before bed can overstimulate the brain, and the light that’s emitted confuses your natural body clock as it’s set to the rise and fall of the sun.
- Breathing exercises are so helpful and easy! Breathe in for 8 seconds, hold for 8 seconds and then breathe out for 8 seconds. Repeat until you feel yourself calm.
- Listen to a podcast. There’s so many good ones on the Podcast App on the iPhone. Such as: Fearne Cotton’s ‘Happy Place’, Bryony Gordon’s ‘Mad World’ or The Guardian’s Audio Long Reads.
- Set a realistic regular time for you to go to bed. Don’t force yourself to be in bed by 10:30pm and get worked up that you didn’t fall asleep instantly.
- If your head is going a 100mph because you’ve got a busy day the next day, organise yourself. Get your breakfast and lunch ready, choose your outfit and write a to do list.
- YOGA is so good for unwinding – follow this video if you’re a beginner.
3. Physical aids
- Exercise is a great way of tiring your body, try a leisurely walk for 30 mins around town or Westgate gardens
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- Meditation. There’s an app called ‘Headspace’, which if you take it seriously, really does teach you to meditate.
- Camomile tea is known for it’s calming properties.
- If you’re like me, and have Misophonia, ear plugs are a great way of blocking out irritating noises. My favourites are from Superdug – they are pricey but you can get student discount in Superdrug with a valid Health and Beauty Card.
- Are your uni curtains paper thin? Is the streetlight outside your window beaming light in? I’d suggest buying an eye mask, especially a unicorn one.
If you’re really struggling, it could be time to head to the doctor’s.
Lack of sleep can really affect your mental and physical health, consequently leading to mood disorders like depression and anxiety.
Take this sleep self assessment test and see what the NHS says.