Why is sleep so important?

by frank-stuart
26APR

Developing a good sleep routine could be the key to a happier, more successful, and healthful time at university. Studies have established a clear link between sleep, cognitive performance, and health. Learning how to sleep can take a little practice and experimenting, but the results could be well worth your time.

Benefits of a Good Sleeping Routine

Numerous studies have demonstrated a good sleeping routine and good health.

  • The US’s National Sleep Foundation states that sleep is a basic necessity of life that’s as important as food, water, and air. Countless studies have linked getting enough sleep with mental clarity and performance during the day.
  • Getting enough sleep is also linked to emotional balance and energy levels according to the Sleep Foundation. People who are chronic sleep deprived experience poor concentration and learning – yet university students are one of the most likely populations to experience sleep deprivation.
  • Sleep has also been linked to healthy weight maintenance according to an article in Science Daily. Sleep deprivation can lead to hormone disturbances and insulin sensitivity, which can make you crave high-calorie foods.

How Much Sleep Do You Need?

There doesn’t appear to be an optimal number of sleep hours for everyone, how much sleep you need may depend on your own physiology. Studies suggest we may need anywhere from seven to eight hours per night or more every day.

One good way to find out how much is good for you may be just to try sleeping a week without the alarm, and wake up each day naturally. Write down how many hours you sleep during the week. The average hours you sleep during the test week may be an indication of how much sleep you should be getting.

Keeping a Regular Schedule

Many university students find that between a part-time job, a busy social life, and study, there are not many hours left for getting sufficient sleep. It’s important to balance priorities and commit to setting aside enough rest and sleep time. Learn how to sleep by keeping to a regular schedule. If you’re having trouble getting to sleep on time, try these tips.

  • Try to get to bed earlier. Sleep at a fixed bedtime every day. A regular schedule allows your body to align with its natural circadian rhythm.
  • Allocate at least 30 minutes for down time before bedtime. Use this time for quiet reading or relaxation. Avoid watching TV, listening to loud music, or undertaking activities with strong audio-visual stimulants during this down time.
  • If you can’t fall asleep because you have too much on your mind, try writing down your commitments in your diary and letting them go for the time being.
  • Use relaxation techniques to beat insomnia. Meditation, visualisation, and breathing exercises are some easy techniques.
  • Take note of your sleep environment. Air quality, noise, temperature, and your mattress can help or hinder sleep quality.
  • Get plenty of exercise and cut down on caffeine in the afternoon and evening. Eating healthy meals at set times during the day can also contribute to better sleep.
  • If you do experience severe sleeping disorders, you may need to consult a sleep doctor.

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