Improve Grades by Getting Better Sleep: 5 Tips for College Students

Better sleep habits improve memoryDid you know that poor sleep affects both memory and learning? For many college students, lack of sleep is a leading contributor to poor academic performance. Studies show that college-age students need at least 7 hours of sleep per night, but only 11 percent of American college students sleep well consistently. Irregular bedtime routines make it hard for students to get to sleep and even harder for them to get up in the morning. A really loud alarm clock can work wonders to rouse a groggy student, but improving sleep habits should be every college student’s ultimate goal. Here are some tips to help college students sleep better:

1. Go to sleep when you are tired. It’s not necessary to go to sleep at the same time every night, but listen to what your body is telling you and go to sleep when you begin to feel drowsy.

Sonic Bomb alarm clock with bed shaker2. Get up when your alarm goes off. Make it a habit to jump (or crawl!) out of bed when the alarm clock sounds. Repeatedly hitting the “snooze” button interrupts REM sleep and actually makes you feel more tired. Heavy sleepers who are immune to the sound of ordinary alarm clocks should try an extra loud alarm clock (one is even nicknamed the “sonic bomb!”). For a double-dose of sensory stimulation, some alarm clocks also feature a vibrating pad or bed shaker that slips under the pillow and activates when the alarm goes off.

3. Avoid late-night foods and activities that energize you. Don’t eat a heavy meal or consume caffeine for three hours before bedtime and restrict alcohol and nicotine within one hour of bedtime. Because exercising raises the heart rate and makes you feel invigorated, avoid working out in the evening. Plan your workouts for the morning or afternoon so your body will want to slow down and rest when bedtime rolls around.

4. Limit naps to 20 minutes. For most people, a 15-30 minute nap makes them feel rested and boosts their mental performance, whereas longer naps can make you feel groggy, disoriented, and even sleepier than you did before napping (a phenomenon known as “sleep inertia”).

Getting better sleep allows students to be more focused5. Reduce stress. College students who are trying to balance the demands of academics, sports, work and social pressures experience extremely high levels of stress. Too much stress can cause tension, anxiety and sleep problems. Students should try a variety of physical and mental activities that reduce stress and encourage relaxation, such as yoga, meditation, listening to soothing music, and reading.

College is the first time that many young people are completely on their own and in charge of their daily schedule, so it often takes a conscious effort for students to adopt better sleep habits. But by sticking to a bedtime routine and getting up at a regular time in the morning (even if it means being blasted out of bed by an extra loud alarm clock!), students will feel more attentive, more focused, and more productive.

One thought on “Improve Grades by Getting Better Sleep: 5 Tips for College Students

  1. One thing that i found helps with studing and a good sleep schedule is if you can living off campus. If you go to a local school and can live off campus it allows for better concentration when studying. You don’t have to deal with all the dorm parties and loud enviornments.

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