December 4, 2016

9 Steps to Sleeping Better During Law School Finals

9 steps to sleeping better and waking up refreshed and happy. Insomnia tips. Sleep app. How to go to sleep earlier. How to get a better night's sleep. |

I know that this is a super stressful time because most likely most of your classes will depend on just one grade - your final. It sucks, it really really sucks, I know. But it will be okay and you'll get through this. Remember that it's just as hard to get an F as it is to get an A thanks to the curve. I know like half of my posts have a theme of "everything's going to be alright" because in retrospect I think that's something that I needed to here more often. 

sleep better, be happier |

You just have to get through these next few weeks. And trust me from my own mistakes, you are going to need to control your stress so that you can sleep. Not to scare you, but it's a slippery slope from getting a shitty night's sleep to being brain dead while you study to stressing out because you can't get your brain to work to not sleeping because you're stressing and it just becomes a vicious cycle. So here's how to sleep better.

1. Go to sleep one hour earlier than usual

Trust me, this one extra hour of sleep will help you so much more than one extra hour of studying. And if you really think that you need this one hour to study then I suggest you try to figure out a way to be more efficient in your studying. If you need help sticking to an earlier bedtime, you might your phone's bedtime alarm

2. Lights off

When you're studying in the evening and it gets dark, yes you'll need lots of lights on to read without straining your eyes. But as time gets closer to your (new) bedtime, start turning off the lights little by little. Usually by the time I'm about to call it quits for the night, I have all of the lights off except for my floor reading lamp and some candles. This helps my brain know that it's time to start winding down.

3. Don't fight sleepiness

I know for me at least, if I start to feel tired but then think No just study the rest of these flashcards and then sleep, by the time I'm done with the flashcards the feeling of sleepiness is gone and now I'm wide awake. The moment you start to feel tired, just accept the fact that your body needs to rest and recharge and give in to that feeling. This is the opposite of what an academic advisor would tell you because you're not being self-dedicated when it comes to your studying, but those cards will still be there tomorrow and most likely this won't make you fall behind in your study plan. This is when I began to realize the true benefits of studying in advance for finals rather than cramming :D

4. Be ready for bed

Normally during my study breaks I'll clean up a little around the house or do a few chores. But once it starts getting within a few hours of my bed time, I'll use these breaks to remove my makeup, wash my face, change in to pajamas... you get it. This way when the feeling of sleepiness does come, all I have to do is turn off the few lights and go straight to bed. If I'm not already ready for sleep, then I end up waking myself up going through my bedtime routine. 

5. Try some sleep aids

This is especially important if, for example, you used to go to bed at midnight and now you're trying to be asleep by 10. Sometimes you just need a little help. You can try a glass of wine, but just make sure that it's enough to make you tipsy sleepy but without being so much that the sugar makes you bloated/uncomfortable or actually drunk (you don't go into the REM cycle like you're supposed to when you're drunk). Or you could try taking a few melatonin pills durning a final study break to help make you sleepy. If you're really stressed and not sleeping or just in general have a problem with falling asleep, you can try something like Simply Sleep to help you fall asleep fast. The only problem that I've had with these are that you really need to get a full night's rest after taking them or you'll wake up feeling groggy. But for the sake of your body, don't try to do more than one at once!

6. Adjust the temp

Here is the coziest way that I've found to fall asleep. Bump your AC down a few degrees colder than you normally keep it. Either turn on a heated mattress pad or warm up a blanket in the drier and spread it out on top of your fitted sheet. Then when you go to bed, you'll have a cool room and a warm bed so it just makes you want to snuggle up and sleep like a baby. To keep from getting sweaty, I always turn off my mattress pad before I sleep. Then when I wake up, I have a cold bed and a warm room so it makes me want to get out of bed.

7. Make it pitch black

The bedroom in my last apartment was so bright from street lights that I could never fall asleep. So my mom bought me some blackout curtains and omg it helped so much. I never realized how total darkness can help you sleep so well. Just be careful with these though. My friend stayed over one night and the next day was a little cloudy so my room was dark all day and she accidentally slept for like 12 hours because her body was used to the sun waking her up. If you don't want to swap out your curtains, I bought this eye mask to sleep on long flights but I also use it for daytime naps because it seriously blocks out some light.

8. Add some noise

While it sounds counterintuitive because noise usually makes it hard to sleep, this could help! If you use a white noise app or machine, your body will get used to this soft sound and your ears will actually start to tune it out. Since your ears are kind of "turned off," they'll be less likely to pick up on the sound of your neighbor's voices through the walls or the slamming of a door. Basically, it just keeps you from waking up in the middle of the night thanks to assholes.

9. Track your sleep 

Ok so tbh after downloading this sleeping app I became *obsessed* with it and tell everyone to download it. You open this app and then you keep your phone nearby as you go to sleep. Then your phone will either track your movement or your sounds. Basically no movement/sounds from you = deep sleep; movement/sounds = light sleep. The app will consider the window which you said you want to wake up during, and will make sure to wake you up during your light sleep so that it feels more natural to you. 

It's so effective that the alarm sound is a quiet strumming since you don't need a blaring alarm to get you out of deep sleep. But if you're not quite ready to get up, all you have to do is nudge your phone a little (not even open an eye to press a button!) and then it'll snooze. Afterwards, your phone will show you how you slept throughout the night and show you the quality of your sleep in a percentage. Just tracking your sleep like this can help you be aware of how well you're actually sleeping.

Final Thoughts

These are just a few steps that have really helped me improve my sleep, but I really hope they help you! School is enough of a stress so you don't need to add more to it by not resting your brain properly at night! 

PS - here's proof that I've actually been putting a lot of thought into this for some time 

sleep better, be happier |

sleep better, be happier |



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