Education is important, and college is an experience many young adults must undergo to get the kind of job they want to have. That’s why it is important to be aware of the challenges that come with achieving their goals and face them head on. A full-time college workload can have some nasty side effects such as anxiety and fatigue, but did you know that these side effects can lead to more serious issues? Insomnia is a growing problem among the college demographic and it’s no mystery as to why.
Insomnia (habitual sleeplessness; the inability to sleep) is a very common sleep disorder that can be brought on by a variety of factors. The side effects of insomnia vary from person to person, but the most common effects are thus:
- Cognitive Impairment (trouble concentrating or remembering)
- Lethargy/lack of motivation
- Poor work/school performance
- Accidents (minor and severe)
College students must endure a hectic schedule and a level of stress that are conducive to insomnia. Here are some causes of the disorder and some tips on how to ease or avoid the impact of each one:
Stress is a part of life, and it’s unavoidable. However, there are steps you can take to prevent too much of it, and healthy ways to address it.
- Time management is directly tied with stress management. Take a look at your schedule and mark any and all periods where you have time to study or work on class projects. This way, you won’t be cramming and stressed that you won’t be able to retain everything for your exams or get your projects done for their due date.
- Exercise is a great stress reliever. If you feel you don’t have time try multi-tasking and add simple exercises to your morning routine. You can find some here.
- Taking time for meditative silence and deep breathing before bedtime has tremendous benefits—just YouTube search “bedtime meditations” to get started.
- Treat yourself to a massage to release built-up tension. This release could be just what you need to get a good night’s sleep. You can book an appointment today by calling (575) 652-6433 or sending a message here.
2. Irregular sleep schedule
We realize being a college student means countless late nights, but do your best to stick to a somewhat regular sleep schedule. You can do this by:
- Establishing a non-negotiable cut-off time for studying (essentially a bedtime).
- Put your phone on do not disturb when you get in bed—your phone has this feature for a reason, use it.
- Give yourself time to unwind before bed. Setting aside time to unwind, breathe, stretch and clear your mind before bed will put you in a more relaxed headspace and help you fall asleep.
3. Substance intake
All drugs, even the ones you wouldn’t expect, have the potential to cause unwanted effects.
- Constant consumption of coffee, soda, energy drinks—basically any form of caffeine—can lead to insomnia. We’re not saying you can’t drink caffeine anymore. It’s a staple in the college student’s diet, but do try to cut back as much as possible and only consume it in the morning.
- Consumption of alcohol (especially right before bed, and in contrast to what most people think) is also conducive to wakefulness. Too much alcohol isn’t good for anyone, so try to keep that to a minimum and always drink responsibly.
- Be mindful of any effects a prescribed medication may have, as some anti-depressants/anxiety/ADHD medications can cause insomnia. Consult your doctor if you notice your medications are affecting your sleep.
We hope you’ve added some extra tools to your counting sheep strategies and wish you the sweetest of dreams.