Six ways to a better night's sleep

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By Courtney Johnson

Sleep is crucial to your success as a student. Many stressed out students turn to caffeine to stay awake and, in some cases, sleep aids to fall asleep.

There are natural and behavioral changes students can make in their routines to achieve better sleep.

Dr. Chiang of Duke University Medical Center and head of the Sleep Medicine program encourages his patients to reduce their screen time before bed. Chiang encourages them to “Turn off the computer, television, electronic readers and staring at Facebook on a smart phone at least 30 minutes prior to bed time.”

It is a myth that falling asleep to the television or leaving the television on during the night helps you sleep.

Light and especially light movement leaves your brain in a state of fight or flight throughout the night. It leaves you unable to fully relax and enter a cycle of deep sleep. Studies at Duke University have shown an increase in behavioral disorders, including depression, in those who repeatedly sleep with their televisions on. This can have long standing negative mental and physical effects on the body.

Dr. Oz featured foods on his show to help you both fall asleep and stay asleep. One easy option was pumpkin seed powder. It is higher in tryptophan then milk. A spoonful mixed in apple sauce before bed has been proven to help you fall asleep.

-If possible keep your bedroom at a cooler temperature during sleeping hours.

-Exercise in the morning or afternoon for at least thirty minutes a day helps you to achieve a deeper sleep. Meditating before bed is a positive way to ease racing thoughts.

-Holding positive images in your mind and concentrating of them as you slowly inhale through your nose and exhale through your mouth can be great for your mood as well as helping you fall asleep.

Lastly, to unwind from a stressful day and achieve a night of deep sleep take a hot bath before bed. The heat relaxes you and can make you feel tired.

Combine these six techniques and start healthy sleep patterns today.

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