During midterm season, it’s easy to not get a full recommended, 8 hours of sleep. You’re focused on getting that last slide deck into your memory for tomorrow’s midterm, catching up on other work that you couldn’t complete that day due to studying, or even laying in bed worrying about your busy weeks ahead. Sleep is important to university students because it plays a vital role in good health and wellbeing throughout your life. There are many benefits to getting enough rest, like protecting your mental health, supporting healthy brain functioning, and maintaining your memory, which are all very important especially in high stress situations. Sleep is proven to improve mood, keep hormones balanced to control eating habits, and also help you solve problems and make quick decisions, which we all know is crucial under the pressure of midterms!
Now that you understand how sleep is helpful during the midterm season, let’s talk about some ways that you can achieve this 8-10 hours of sleep per night. When we are dealing with pressure and stress, it is sometimes difficult to relax enough to get a good night’s rest. Here’s some of our best tips to help you stay healthy and well rested during midterms!
Get that Vitamin D!
Sunlight helps us preserve our body’s sleep and wake cycles, so each day try and incorporate time getting some rays. This can be as simple as walking to class, studying outside for an hour, or going for a coffee with a friend and sitting outside. Try to incorporate being outside with activities you would already be doing to make this goal a reality!
Coffee is usually your best friend during midterms, but it can also be harming your sleep cycles. Caffeine is a stimulant, so you should try and avoid it after lunch to make sure it doesn’t interfere with that night’s sleep. If you are feeling sluggish, try having an energy boosting snack like yogurt and granola, or banana and peanut butter. Still can’t give up your afternoon coffee? Try filling your cup with half decaf.
Naps are common with most students, because they think it is giving them an energy boost before their day is done, but in actuality, it can make you sleep worse that night. Napping is associated with staying up later than you should to get a full night’s rest, and also disrupting your sleep. Naps can be helpful if they are kept to under 30 minutes, and if you incorporate them on a regular basis.
Use Your Bed Only for Sleeping!
Avoid using your bed for other activities than sleeping, especially if you use your bed as a study spot. Doing other activities in bed other than sleeping can confuse your body into associating your bed with activity inducing tasks, making it more difficult to have a restful night.
Go to Bed ONLY When You Are Sleepy
If you have trouble falling asleep within 20 minutes of going to bed, you might not be tired, or relaxed enough to fall asleep. Usually when we have difficulty sleeping, we roll around in bed until we eventually get some rest. This may not be the most effective way to get enough sleep however, and you may need to get out of bed and do some sort of relaxing activity before getting back into bed. Try meditation, deep breathing, or listening to relaxing music to get you more relaxed and ready for bed.
Sleep is a great way to reduce stress and anxiety, and increase your productivity during stressful periods like midterms. Practice some of our tips to help you get better sleep at night, or even increase the amount of rest you get each night. Feeling refreshed for the next day is important to helping you do the best you can on your upcoming midterms. If you are still having trouble with your sleep schedule, try using a sleep diary to track what factor are affecting your sleep cycles.
The Student Life Centre wants to wish you good luck on your upcoming midterms, and remind you that our door is always open if you are struggling to cope with the pressures of this difficult time!