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How to Get Enough Sleep in College

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How to Get Enough Sleep in College (B2M Productions / Getty Images)

There's a reason most college students sleep in whenever they have the chance: they're exhausted, sleep deprived, and in desperate need of some zzzz's at any given time. And yet finding time to sleep in college can be quite challenging, given that sleep often is the first thing to get cut when stress levels and workloads pile up. So just how can you find time to sleep in college?

Difficulty: Easy
Time Required: Varies

Here's How:

  1. Do your best to make sure you get a certain amount every night. Alright, this one is admittedly common sense, but there's a reason why it's listed first. Having widely varying amount of sleep each night -- 7 hours on Monday, 2 hours on Tuesday -- can wreak havoc on your body's (and mind's) ability to really rest and recover as you sleep. Getting a decent and consistent amount of sleep each night is your best bet for not feeling exhausted during your entire 4 (or 5 or 6) years of college.
  2. Take naps. Reality, of course, often gets in the way of the previous suggestion. So what can you do? Take naps, whether they be 20-minute power naps or a nice, 2-hour nap between classes in the afternoon. The sleep will let you rest and recover while still allowing you to take on the remainder of your day.
  3. Exercise. Besides keeping you healthy, exercise helps you sleep better. While your schedule may be packed, finding time to exercise is easier than you think -- and can definitely help increase your energy level and decrease your exhaustion.
  4. Eat well. Also in the "I know I should do that, but ..." category, eating well can help make your sleep more restful and productive. Think about how you feel if you eat a good breakfast, healthy lunch, and not-too-crazy dinner. Just like the difference eating well makes during your waking hours, your sleeping hours can be affected by what you eat. Choose wisely!
  5. Don't pull all-nighters. Yes, the dreaded all-nighter is a rite of passage for many, if not most, college students. Yet they are positively dreadful on your body (and mind and spirit and everything else). Do your best to figure out how to not procrastinate in the first place so you don't have to pull all-nighters during your time in school.
  6. Make sure your sleep is restful. Falling asleep with the TV on, the lights on, your roommate's music on, and tons of people popping in and out all night may look like a normal night for you -- but it is not a normal and healthy way to get some restful sleep each night. Sleeping in a non-restful environment can sometimes leave you feeling more sleepy than refreshed in the morning, so do your best to make sure that when you go to sleep you can actually, you know, sleep.
  7. Watch your caffeine intake. College life requires a lot of energy -- which sometimes means that students walk around drinking coffee all day, every day. But that cup of coffee you drank after dinner may very well keep you up until breakfast tomorrow. Try to avoid having too much caffeine during the later hours of the day so that you can actually rest (instead of fight the last of your caffeine buzz) when you finally go to sleep at night.

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