Health

Sleep well and become a better student

Updated 10. Dec 2021

Did you know that enough sleep is crucial for concentration, learning, and long-term memory? And that not getting enough sleep can make you irritable and prone to catching colds?

Vital for your health

Sleep is vital; it is as important to us as food, air, and water. Our bodies and brains depend on a certain amount of sleep in order to function well in our everyday lives. Most of us have experienced how a bad night’s sleep affects our mood, ability to concentrate, and energy level.

Sleep is central for the body to repair, and for the immune system to function the way it is supposed to.

Most cell regeneration happens at night, and the same can be said for storing memories and new information.

Are you sleeping poorly?

Common signs that you have not had enough sleep:

  • You are tired and don’t feel well rested when you wake up.

  • You experience frequent headaches, irritability, or struggle with concentration.

  • You feel tired during the day, and can easily dose off when you sit still.

  • You feel anxious, nervous, or uneasy without any particular or obvious reason.

Common signs that your sleep is disrupted:

  • You spend more than 30 – 40 minutes falling asleep.

  • You wake up multiple times during the night.

  • You wake up far too early in the morning and cannot go back to sleep.

  • You can only fall asleep with help from alcohol or sleeping medication.

A talk with SSN Health might help if you experience this multiple times a week over a longer period of time.

How much sleep do we need?

How much each of us sleeps, and how much sleep we actually need, is individual and varies from person to person. Some need a lot of sleep while others function well with less. It is normal to need anywhere from six to nine hours of sleep per night. In other words, the belief that everyone needs eight hours of sleep to function well is a myth.

What determines whether you have had enough sleep is not the number of hours you have slept, but whether you feel well rested the next day.

When the sleep quality gets poor

Most of us will experience periods where we struggle with sleep. Difficulties with sleeping is common for students, both because one might not prioritise sleep as much as previously, and because so much is happening in life that it gets hard to switch off at the end of the day. Stressing about school, worrying about exams, experiencing big life changes, as well as conflicts with family or friends, are common factors which affect sleep quality negatively. Anxious and negative thoughts tend to grow larger at night, and lying awake contemplating these leads to an overactive brain and a stressed body. A body filled with stress hormones is hard to switch off, which generates even more stress and negative thoughts. All this leads to a vicious circle, and bedtime can start to be associated with something negative.

Not being able to sleep can be both frustrating and exhausting, whatever the cause. It is important to remember that poor sleep now and then is completely normal, and that we function a lot better than we think on relatively few hours of sleep.

Try to relax, and keep in mind that a few bad nights do not constitute a crisis. Most sleeping difficulties resolve themselves, and if they do not, help is available.

How to facilitate good sleep

Sleep is affected and regulated by three things in particular:

  1. Your internal biological clock.

  2. The amount of time since you last slept.

  3. What you do during the day and before bed.

It is a good idea to consider these factors to promote a good night’s sleep. For example, napping during the day is not beneficial if you struggle with sleeping at night. It might be tempting if you are feeling really tired, but a daytime-nap will only reset your sleep requirement, disrupt your sleep schedule, and make it harder to fall asleep at night. Strenuous workouts, heavy meals, or large amounts of alcohol before bedtime will have the same effect.

Often, small changes can make a big difference, and small adjustments may be all it takes to improve sleep quality.

Better sleep - ten smart tips and tricks to sleep better.

Do you need help finding good sleep? SSN Health have conversational therapists and psychologists who can help.

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