By Kirsten Licht, health promotions anaylist at Nebraska Medicine – University Health Center
Having trouble sleeping? Your dorm space or apartment bedroom may be partially to blame.
Taking time to arrange a sleep-friendly environment may help you fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly throughout the night. In honor of National Sleep Month, commit to making your sleep health a priority by following these eight easy tips:
Make your room as comfortable as possible for sleeping –
Clean, fresh linens on your bed can help you feel more relaxed and fall asleep more easily. Hang twinkle lights for a gentle light.
Keep your room dark and quiet –
Use a fan or white noise machine or app. Music, ear plugs, or a phone app can also help create a quiet space. Eye shades or blackout shades can keep your room dark and right for sleep.
Free yourself from outside distractions –
Put your phone on “do not disturb” and put your computer away. Remember, the blue light emitted from electronics can also disrupt your sleep cycle. Clean off your desk so you don’t feel the stress of your to-do list.
Find a comfortable temperature for sleeping –
Not too hot and not too cold, although cooler temperatures are better.
Train your brain that when you get into bed, it is time to sleep –
Use your bed for sleeping and sex, not as a place to study or watch TV.
If you have a roommate, discuss and decide when your space will be used for studying, socializing and sleeping –
Talk to each other about your sleep schedules. If you are having problems, talk to Residence Life staff.
Make your space smell good –
Lavender is a calming fragrance. Its scent may slow down the nervous system, which relaxes the body and mind to improve sleep quality. Jasmine has a sweet smell that helps people experience greater sleep efficiency, less movement during slumber and overall better quality sleep.
Keep some bedtime snacks handy –
Dark tart cherries, pineapple, walnuts, yogurt, milk and cheese contain melatonin, which is a sleep hormone that regulates your internal clock. Bananas, pumpkin seeds, peanut butter, cheese, chickpeas (garbanzo beans)/hummus contain tryptophan, which is an amino acid that raises serotonin levels that are needed to make melatonin. Almonds, almond butter and bananas contain magnesium, which is a muscle-relaxing mineral that helps regulate sleep.