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Green Girl Struggles With Sleep

Green Girl Struggles With Sleep

Oh, sleep. For many college students, it seems to be a fleeting dream. Between classes, studying, problem sets, papers, rehearsals, meetings, and eating, sleep simply doesn’t fit into our schedules that well. I was talking to one of my best friends the other day, who had a chemistry midterm at 7 a.m. that morning, and she told me that, though she had only gotten five hours of sleep beforehand, after her two-hour exam, she promptly fell back asleep again for three hours. This demonstrates the haphazard sleeping schedule of the college student quite well. She found it funny that she had indeed gotten eight hours of sleep that night; it was just as though she had woken up in the middle of the night and took a two-hour chem exam.

Not only is it harder and harder for students to get enough sleep as exam season rolls in, but more and more of us are getting stress-induced insomnia, which cuts down on our sleep time tremendously. Plus, dorms aren’t always the best sleep environment–anyone ever have a roommate who stayed up later than you with the lights on, studying or talking to a friend? Makes it difficult to sleep, right?

Indeed, college students are ranked towards the top of the list in terms of sleep-deprivation, most likely due to our irregular sleep patterns. In fact, only 11 percent of college students report having good sleep on a regular basis. Plus, most college students will get a diminished amount of not-so-good sleep during the week and then completely change their sleep patterns over the weekend, “catching up” on the sleep they lost over the week. This messes with the circadian rhythm, making it even harder for you to get a “good” sleep the next night. What is so detrimental about college sleep patterns is that approximately eight hours of good sleep is particularly important for students, because both deep sleep (which takes place early in the night) and dream sleep (later in the night) are required for learning. Sleep-deprivation and changing sleep patterns also lead to a weakened immune system, depression, anxiety and irritability–in addition to taking a toll on your studies.

So, what can you do about this problem? Well, first try to set a time to go to bed every night that will ensure you eight hours of sleep. And yes, there will be time to do the rest of your work tomorrow. Sleep is more important. Second, relaxation is key to falling asleep. Rather than stressing about your week and the amount of work you have to do, write it all down in a list and then forget about it. Try reading a book for fun or listening to some classical music before going to bed, and drink a cup of herbal tea with honey. It will do wonders. Also, try not to drink caffeinated beverages in the late afternoon and evening.

I happen to have a terrible time sleeping, and my newest discovery for a sleeping aid is a sleep mask. I know, sounds ridiculous, but it works wonders! The Earth Therapeutics Mind/Body Therapy Sleep Mask is a soft, sleep-inducing mask made of non-irritable silk on the outside and cotton on the inside. No scents, no discomfort; the mask simply blocks out distracting visual stimuli and creates a splendid dream world. I love it immensely and I know this may sound strange, but it really helps me sleep better.

Note to self: Stop studying. Go to sleep.

Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a sophomore at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.

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Lily Berthold-Bond

Lily Berthold-Bond grew up in a chemical-free zone and has struggled her whole life to understand and accept this non-commercial lifestyle. Now a freshman at Tufts University, she has embraced her green life and hopes to share its possibilities with the rest of her generation.

21 comments

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2:23AM PDT on Jun 15, 2009

thanks...
Kabin

Konteyner

12:33AM PDT on Oct 31, 2008

I have problems sleeping too. Always have. I have a natural sleep clock that wants me to go to sleep early in the morning, but life doesn't like that.
I've found the best way to fall asleep is to have a routine. Brushing your teeth or taking a show or something gives your body signs that its time to go to bed. Keeping the room dark is important too. No, none, nada on the tv's in the room if possible. If not, don't turn em of whatever you do. The light and images excite the mind, keeping it up. To me, the most important thing is moving the clock. Yep, put it so you can't see it. This way you don't keep looking at the clock and thinking about how you can't get to sleep. The anxiety over not sleeping will keep you up. Luckily, I have really bad eyesight, so I just sleep without contacts and I can't see my clock from across the room.

2:41PM PDT on Oct 28, 2008

Yes, sleep is more important, but next to impossible for college kids. You have to take brain food because there's plenty of stress on the neural pathways during that critical time in college.

Take vitamin B-complexes and a balance of omega 3-6-9. That should help keep you awake while providing that necessary burst of mental energy for taking exams.

If you're all wound up and have trouble sleeping from a hectic schedule, try stimulating the opposite of heart point 8 on the heart meridian (look it up) with massaging, kneading, and tapping. This helps adjust your biological rhythm to a broken sleep schedule from those long hours at study.

I recommend melatonin for middle aged people and older who have problems with insomnia - unless you're malnourished and your hormone levels are not what they should be. In that case - see a nutritionist.

2:07PM PDT on Oct 28, 2008

....all of the above! my personal favorite ... earplugs. the soft kind..

12:46PM PDT on Oct 28, 2008

I am a chronic insomnia sufferer, and have discovered several tricks over the years to help me sleep.

1. Get as much of your actual sleep between 10 pm at night and 3am in the morning, due to the human circadian cycle, which gives the most refreshing sleep in that time.

2. Use a sleep face mask over your eyes if you cannot stop the light contamination in your sleeping space, or keep your sleep space totally dark, since any light disrupts your pineal gland and your circadian cycle.

3. Turn off all sources of sound, including television, radio, and music when you sleep, since even the most soothing music will limit your depth of sleep, and if you have unavoidable sources of sound, like street noise or roommates, use a white noise machine or fan to blanket your room with white noise.

Do not eat or drink just before you go to bed, and always use the bathroom before you go to sleep to avoid a trip to the bathroom, since the night and sound will hurt your sleep cycle.

No caffeine products should be used in the evening, due to disruption of sleep.

12:15PM PDT on Oct 28, 2008

One of the best solutions for many sleep disorders is meditation. The Ishayas' Ascension, in particular, has relieved so many students who have learned just the first of 4 techniques. An easy exercise to begin with can be found on my website - www.conscious-easy-living-now.com/mind-chatter.html is well worth a try. If that doesn't work to help you sleep, then I highly recommend you learn how to meditate.
A quiet mind seems to be the secret to deep, sound sleep.
Wishing you peaceful sleeping,
Saryanavat

9:50AM PDT on Oct 28, 2008

Lavender is my sleepy time aid and sometimes my wake up help as well. I also find that I've been sleeping better since I've added an enzyme supplement to my diet, but that probably contributes more to my daytime energy than anything.

8:26AM PDT on Oct 28, 2008

A read through the posts brought many of my own college dorm experiences back. Some things never change! Yes, good sleep hygiene is essential to good health, along with diet and exercise. It's important to know that if you still fight sleepiness during the day that you may have a serious sleep disorder. I had became a regular afternoon napper by my second semester because I couldn't stay awake in morning classes. Little did I know that I was compensating for narcolepsy. which would worsen until I was diagnosed 9 years after college. If you or someone you know suffers from daytime sleepiness in spite of good sleep hygiene,, please direct them to the short and simple Epworth Sleepiness Scale at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epworth_Sleepiness_Scale. A score of 10 or more: bring the test results to a physician and request a sleep evaluation. Most sleep disorders are treatable! Diagnoses save lives and greatly improve chances for success in school and beyond. Possibilities include:
Narcolepsy - see www.narcolepsynetwork.org
Sleep Apnea - see www.sleepapnea.org
Restless Legs Syndrome - see www.rls.org

Sleep Well. Live Better.

7:30AM PDT on Oct 28, 2008

Trick yourself into sleeping! I've had trouble sleeping ever since the beginning of high school when I decided I'd rather be IMing my friends and working on elaborate art projects than sleep. About six years later, I have to make special efforts to reverse my terrible sleeping patterns and get a good night's rest. I've found that tricking myself into sleeping is the most effective way to guarantee a good night of rest. As in the article, I would use a sleep mask a little while before I'd fall asleep and it would put me in the sleep mindset and after some time I'd fall asleep. After a while all I'd only have to put the mask halfway on my head and I'd actually fall asleep like that, before I could even put it over my eyes. Another trick is to read yourself to sleep, just keep reading and reading until you just can't keep your eyes open. I know these things sound too simple for real insomnia, but I have experienced some extreme insomnia and more than anything I believe in MIND OVER MATTER. If I'm constantly worrying about the quality or quantity of sleep I'm going to get later that night, then I'll never relax and the idea of sleep becomes a heavy weight on my shoulders rather than what it's supposed to be, a recharging experience guaranteed to make each day enjoyable.

6:53AM PDT on Oct 28, 2008

I have been suffering with a sleep disorder for years now. It gets so bad that I cannot recall what day it is sometimes. The strangest part is that I seem to sleep better during the day than at night. So I too tend to get maybe 2 hours of sleep a night during the week (if I'm even that lucky) yet on the weekend I can "catch up" during the day. I have tried several methods however I am ADHD which I believe contributes to my sleep problem. Warm milk does not help because there is not enough tryptophan in it to put you to sleep. I exercise and eating right has always been a constant in my life so that didn't matter for me. What I did find useful was drink a glass of red wine (maybe two glasses but no more)right before going to bed. I think we all know the consequences of drinking too much (hangover) but in moderation it seems to do the trick.

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