Although it may seem obvious, sleep is an extremely important part of our lives. We cannot function well without it. Not every Hoya is able to get the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each night. Because of midterms and papers that pile up we don’t sleep because we are too interested in other things. However, according to the 2012 National College Health Association Survey, 18.3% of Hoyas identified sleep difficulties as a factor that negatively affected their academic performance. Many of these difficulties fall under the category of insomnia, which is characterized by difficulty falling asleep or difficulty maintaining sleep. Insomnia is generally triggered by significant life stress, emotional or physical discomfort, or certain medications.
Although symptoms of insomnia can vary rather widely, some common ones include:
- Irregular waking times
- Feeling tired when waking up
- Having difficulty focusing when awake
- Suffering from impaired memory when awake
- Stick to a solid sleep schedule so that your body can get used to waking up and going to sleep at a particular time.
- Find ways to relax your mind before going to sleep. One of the largest issues that some people have when trying to go to sleep is that their mind can’t seem to shut off. Yoga and meditative breathing can help to reduce mental anxiety.
- Exercise and be active! Naturally, your body will be more tired when it comes time to sleep if you were more active during the day than if you were not as active.
- Limit naps. Although naps on occasion can be a good thing to help you power through the day, for those who suffer from insomnia, naps can throw off internal clocks and make it harder to go to sleep at night.
- Limit caffeine, nicotine, and other stimulants, particularly in the afternoon, because they can make it harder for you to fall asleep later.
- Make your bed a place exclusively for sleeping. If you normally do work or watch TV on your bed, do those activities elsewhere. If you consciously reprogram your mind to only associate your bed with sleeping, it will become easier to fall asleep.
If you feel that your insomnia is severe or these tactics are not working for you, it might be necessary to consider professional help. Professionals know various techniques such as cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) that are designed to reassign associations and help make it easier to get sleep.
Counseling & Psychiatric Services (CAPS)
One Darnall Hall
Student Health Center
Darnall Hall Ground Floor
To make an appt: (202) 687-2200
After hours clinician on-call: (202) 444-7243
Health Education Services
1437 37th St NW, Poulton Hall Suite 101