Sleepless nights: Tips for dealing with insomnia at uni

Sleepless nights are often a part of student life. Whether you’re clubbing til dawn or pulling an all-nighter, you’re bound to slip up on your sleeping pattern at some point. Insomnia isn’t something you’d usually consider you suffer from.

But, if you regularly:

  • Stare at the ceiling in the small hours, counting sheep
  • Nod off in your library booth
  • Require an excessive amount of coffee to get through the day

… then a sleepless night becomes the dreaded insomnia.

Most students struggle with insomnia at some point during uni. Stress, anxiety and alcohol are just a few of the contributing factors. Incidentally, these are key features of uni life! There are lots of lots of sleep tips out there. But, unhelpfully, CBT sessions, reducing caffeine intake and creating a comfortable sleep space can’t be done when you’re tossing and turning at 3 am.  

That’s why I’ve put together a few tips that helped me through restless nights, which might come in useful for you, too. Let’s take this to the bedroom.

1. Get out of bed

This may seem counter-productive if you’re desperately seeking sleep. As various sleep studies show, your brain tends to associate the bedroom with whatever you get up to in there. If you are in bed and are awake, your brain will think this is the norm. Hence, it worsens your sleep situation! 

Do something relaxing. Read a book, drink some tea or do a few ‘downward-facing dogs’ or even try ASMR. Once you feel snoozy, head to bed.

2. Don’t stress it

Avert your eyes from the clock. It’s a vicious cycle: you worry about not getting enough sleep, which wakes you up and prevents sleep. And it continues.

Keep your phone and clocks at a safe distance. Even if you can’t sleep, you still need some quality R&R. Try some relaxation exercises or some simple deep breathing. This will naturally calm you down and leave you feeling fresher than if you’re worrying all night.

3. Make a worry list

Insomnia is a symptom, not a disease. If you’re struggling to sleep on the regular, there’s likely to be a reason for it. What’s bothering you?

Keep a notebook at arm’s reach. The next time your damn brain won’t settle, write down your thoughts. More often than not, they won’t seem so bad once they’re on paper.

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