Sleep

Have you pulled an all-nighter to study for an exam? Research shows that students who get a full night's sleep often perform better on exams than those who get less sleep.

Because sleep can affect our mood, learning and memory functions, as well as our immune system, it is important to establish good sleep habits.

Are you having a hard time falling asleep? Establishing a relaxing bedtime routine will help condition your body to relax and fall asleep. Try the following tips to help you get adequate sleep.

Deep breathing allows more oxygen to enter your body, slows down your heartbeat, and helps your body relax (1). Light stretching or yoga is another calming activity that can get you ready for bed.


Being on your phone, tablet or computer before bedtime actually stimulates your brain an the light from these devices has been shown to be associated with wakefulness, thus making it more difficult to fall asleep (2). Try reading a book or magazine not on a screen.


Green tea containes Theanine which is associated with inducing relaxation(3). Milk contains Tryptohan which arguably promotes sleepiness.


Tips to help you sleep

  • Make your room comfortable (dark, quiet)
  • Go to sleep and wake up around the same time every day
  • Establish a bedtime ritual
  • Take a warm bath or shower or do another calming activity that may help you relax and fall asleep easier
  • Make time for physical activity during the day
  • Avoid caffeine 4-6 hours before bedtime
  • Avoid eating heavy meals before bed
  • Try not to study or watch tv while in bed

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep, make an appointment with a Student Health provider by calling (858) 534-8089.
You can also contact CAPS at: http://caps.ucsd.edu or call (858) 534-3755.

Naps

What about naps? Some researchers recommend a 20-minute nap during the day as long as it does not interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night. Check out nap resources at The Zone.

Online resources

Have questions? Contact a Health Educator at (858) 534-1824.


(1) American Institute of Stress
(2) National Sleep Foundation
(3) Nobre AC, Rao A, O(wen GH. L-theanine, a natural constituent in tea, and its effect on mental state. Asoa Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008 September 17 Suppl 1:167-8.