Sleep

Why is sleep so important?

↓ Grades

↓ Attention

↓ Memory

↑ Mood Swings

↑ Anger

↑ Depression

Healthy sleep habits

Do TV or video games impact sleep?

Yes. Exciting television programs, movies, and video games can overstimulate you and make it harder to fall asleep. The “glow” from electronic devices can inhibit our natural sleep cycle. If you have trouble falling asleep, avoid using your computer or other devices for at least an hour before you try to fall asleep.

What should I do if I think too much and can’t sleep?

What should I do if my roommate or residence hall is too noisy?

What if I like to stay up late on the weekend?

If you don’t feel well rested, then getting consistent sleep—even on weekends—could help a lot. But, if you just can’t shake the party bug:

A bed is a bed, not a desk—stimulus-control instructions

Part of learning to sleep better is helping your brain associate your bed only with sleep. If you do your homework in bed, or do exciting things like watch movies in bed or spend a lot of time online with your laptop in bed, you may find it difficult to relax and sleep in bed. Take advantage of other locations to study and socialize (lounges, library, common areas, cafes, and coffee shops). To turn your bed into a cue for sleep:

  1. Use your bed only for sleep and intimacy.

  2. Establish a set of regular presleep routines that signal to your brain that it is time for sleep. Each night do the same wind-down routine. Examples: prepare materials for the next day, tidy up room, clear off bed, take a warm shower, say good-night to friends and loved ones, meditate or pray. If you have trouble quieting your mind, try breathing exercises to elicit your body’s relaxation response.

  3. At bedtime: Lie down intending to sleep only when sleepy. If unable to fall asleep after about 15 minutes, get up and go into another room. If in a residence hall, get out of bed and do something relaxing, not homework (homework will just wake up your brain again). Try to avoid bright lights from a television or computer during this time. Return to bed only after you feel sleepy. If, once in bed, you cannot fall asleep within 15 minutes or if you reawake at a later time and cannot fall asleep within 15 minutes, get out of bed once more and repeat the process.

Products That May Negatively Impact Sleep

Beverages and candy that contain caffeine

Regular Coffee (8 oz.), 60–350 mg.

Decaffeinated Coffee, 2–4 mg.

Black Tea (8 oz.), 30–120 mg.

Green Tea, 30–50 mg.

Colas (Coke, Pepsi, Root Beer), 20–60 mg.

Energy Drinks (Red Bull, Vault, Full Throttle, Monster), 50–150 mg.

Chocolate (per oz.), 8–20 mg.

Medications

Some over-the-counter medicines contain stimulants such as caffeine or pseudoephedrine. Some prescription medications could interfere with sleep or make you too sleepy; be sure to talk with your health care provider and/or pharmacist about possible side-effects of any medications you may be taking.

Alcohol

Do not drink alcoholic beverages within 2 hours of bedtime. Alcohol, since it is a sedative, may make you feel tired, but as your body metabolizes the alcohol, it disrupts the sleep process and you may not awaken feeling rested.

Resources

Emory University Student Health and Counseling Services