Sleep FAQ's

How can I get better sleep?

Consistency in regards to sleep can make a huge difference in your quality of sleep. Try to establish a consistent sleep routine; go to bed and wake up at the same time everyday regardless of your schedule for the day. Doing so, will help to regulate your internal clock; helping you to feel well rested and awake at the appropriate times throughout the day. This will also help to notify your body when it's time to rest.

Are sleeping pills safe?

NO! Sleeping pills disturb sleep more than help you sleep. Sleeping pills are hightly addictive and only mask the cause of your sleeping problems. Developing a healthy sleeping pattern can be difficult, but the benefits emensely outweigh the immediate gratification that sleeping pills can provide.

Am I getting enough sleep?

Everyone's need for sleep differs; some need 7 hours, some need 9. Regarless of your individual sleep need, generally, if you’re getting less than eight hours of sleep each night, including weekends you aren't sleeping enough. If you fall asleep instantly, or need an alarm clock to wake up your body is trying to tell you something. You need more sleep! According to sleep experts, if you want to be fully alert, in a good mood, mentally sharp, creative, and energetic all day, you need to spend at least one third of your life sleeping - about 8 hours each night.

Why is sleep so important?

Sleep fuels every one of our daily functions! Proper sleep helps us function at our optimal level; to think clearly, react quickly and to process, retain and remember information. Sleep effects our mood, our ability to handle stress and controls the replenishment of many of our essential chemicals. While we sleep, our bodies restore, rejuvinate and repair our bodies. You could argue that getting good sleep is the most important and most basic thing you can do to keep yourself healthy.

What happens when I don't get enough sleep?

When asking this question, it is important to know why sleep is so important [see above].

When going without enough sleep for one night, or extended periods of time, you may experience any of the following things:
Daytime Drowsiness- Loss of energy and alertness usually in the mid-afternoon
Micro Sleeps- Episodes of sleep lasting a few seconds at a time
Sleep Seizures- Unintended longer episodes of sleep
Mood Shifts- First noticeable sign of sleep deprivation
Stress & Anxiety- Overwhelming feelings. Increasing worry, frustration,nervousness
Lack of Interest in Socializing
Weight Gain
Feelings of being chilled
Feeling of lethargy/lazy
Reduce of productivity

Are naps good for me?

If so, how long should they last? Naps can be a good way to refresh and recharge your batteries as long as they aren't for long periods of time throughout the day. Long naps can disrupt your sleep pattern and make sleeping at night difficult. If you find yourself needing a nap throughout the day, try to sleep for no more than 20 minutes at the same time everyday. Napping at the same time helps your body to stay in a healthy pattern. In doing so, your body will continue to recognize when it should be awake and when it should sleep.

What are the stages of sleep?

You move through these stages of sleep progressively throughout the night. Stage 1, 2, 3, 4 back down through stages 3, 2, then into REM sleep. After REM, you travel back through stage 2, 3, 4, 3, 2, and more REM.

Stage One- Light sleep when your breathing becomes shallow and regular. This stage lasts anywhere from 10 seconds to 10 minutes.

Stage Two- This lasts about 10 to 20 minutes. This stage is when you become disengaged from the environment and become “asleep”.

Stage Three- Deeper Sleep

Stage Four- Deepest Phase of Sleep. Might be difficult to wake during this stage - the reason why many people feel groggy when awaken by their alarm clock in the morning. In this stage, your body restores muscle recovery, conserves and restores energy, and fights infection.

REM

How can I create a good sleep setting on campus?

Getting good sleep on campus can be tricky; especially if you share a sleeping space with a roommate or roommates. Try to establish a sleep routine to wind down after a long day. Because your schedule and sleeping habits can differ from that of your roommates, have conversations about respectfully living together in regards to sleep - being quiet when entering after the other is sleeping, keeping the lights off or low and any unnecessary noises to a minimum.

Try to keep your bedroom quite, dark, and cool. The ideal temperature for sleeping is about 65 degrees. A cool room is more comfortable but can also ward of bad dreams. Humidity level should be 60 to 70% whether it’s fresh air or a humidifier. Bed sheets should be clean, cool, and most importantly soft. Cotton is the most popular fiber for a bed sheet but it really depends on your comfort zone.

Doctors recommend avoiding back and neck problems one should sleep on either their side or back. These positions allow you to keep your cervical spine in natural alignment and prevent misalignment of the neck. Your pillow should be able to shape the way you want it, it should “fit” like a shoe!

TEST YOUR CURRENT PILLOW:

Examine the covering fabric: Is it stained, disintegrating, or leaking the filling? Does it stay folded when you fold it in half? If so, splurge on a new pillow! Your quality of sleep effects your productiveness throughout the day, your mood and so much more. It's worth the dough.

What is the perfect nightly sleep cycle?

The sleep cycle repeats itself every 90 to 110 minutes until you wake up. Depending on the length of time you sleep, you will travel through 4 or 5 cycles before morning. Getting less than 8 hours of sleep could rob your body of hours of valuable REM sleep. Do yourself a favor and get at least 8 hours of sleep each night; your body will thank you!

What is REM sleep?

REM stands for Rapid Eye Movement. REM sleep starts about 90 to 110 minutes after you fall asleep. In REM, your body rests and your mind and nervous system get to work. REM sleep is important because you store, sort, retain and organize memory and anything you've learned throughout the day during REM sleep. You also replenish necessary chemicals in the brain called neurotransmitters. These neurotransmitters; norepinephrine and serotonin are thought to be crucial for new learning and retention as well as mood. Enough REM sleep is crucial in order to focus, think, process and function throughout a busy day.

What should I do if I'm sleepy while driving?

Never risk driving while sleepy. Each year, over 100,000 accidents and 1,500 deaths are caused by drivers falling asleep at the wheel. If you feel tired, find a safe place and pull over. Call someone and let them know where you are. Set an alarm on your phone, lock your doors and take a quick cat nap. Even if you're close to your destination, driving while sleepy is extremely dangerous. It only takes a second to lose control of a vehicle while your eyes are closed. Never endanger yourself or others on the road by driving sleepy.

Are there foods I should avoid before bed?

Yes! Avoid heavy meals four or five hours before going to bed. Also, stay away from foods that cause indigestion, gas, or heartburn - such as pickles, garlic, fatty or spicy foods. If you're hungry before bed, eat a light snack that is high in carbohydrates and low in protein. Cereal or tea with honey are always safe choices.