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10 tips for a good night’s sleep

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Tossing and turning late into the night is never fun – especially when you need to be well-rested for tomorrow.. Here are some tips to help you finally get that good night’s sleep.

Throughout your time as a nursing student it is important to be well-rested, alert and focused. But if you are someone who struggles to get a good night’s sleep, this can feel like a difficult feat to master.

We’ve compiled a list of 10 tips that will help you fall asleep quickly, and stay asleep so that you are always alert and ready for the day ahead.

  1. Stick to a regular sleep schedule: Your body likes routine, so going to bed and waking up at the same time each night will help it recognise when it’s time to sleep. Try to avoid breaking your routine on the weekends, as it will be harder to readjust your sleep schedule for weekdays.
  2. Establish a pre-bedtime routine: Getting into some kind of habit to wind down for the night will help you to relax from the day and signal to your body that it’s time to get ready for bed. Anything from a warm bath, to a cup of hot milk, to simply shutting down the house for the night can help wind you down.
  3. Create a quiet, dark and cool sleep environment: External distractions can make it difficult for you to fall asleep and to stay asleep. Bright lights, street noises and stuffy rooms are all stimulations that can distract you and keep you awake.
  4. Use your bed for sleep only: Try to avoid using your bed for any activities other than sleeping. Using your laptop, watching television, or reading in bed can create a feeling that it is a place for activities, not relaxation. Using your bed only for sleep will strengthen the association with your bed and rest. 
  5. Don’t eat just before bed: Eating right before bed can keep you up because your body is still working to digest your food when it should be resting. Try to finish your last meal 2-3 hours before bedtime.
  6. Exercise: Aside from the obvious health benefits, regular exercise can also help you get a good night’s sleep. Just avoid exercising too close to bedtime, otherwise your body will not have had time to cool down and relax.
  7. Avoid caffeine and alcohol: Caffeine is a stimulant that can be tempting if you’re struggling to stay awake during the day, but you should try to avoid it several hours before you go to bed because it will just make falling asleep harder. You also may be tempted toward a nightcap, but alcohol makes it harder for your body to fall into a deep sleep, and you will awake feeling unrested. There are a range of really good herbal teas that are designed to aid relaxation.
  8. Quit smoking: Cigarrettes contain nicotine which is also a stimulant. Smoking before bed will mean that you will experience withdrawal symptoms during the night that won’t help you to relax.
  9. Don’t just lie there: Lying in bed for hours on end, trying to fall asleep, will only make you feel anxious. If you can’t fall asleep after a half hour, get up and do some calming activity (reading, stretching, writing in a journal) before giving it another go.
  10. Stop stressing: One reason many people struggle with sleep is that they can’t stop thinking and worrying about all the things going on in life. They lie in bed, when they should be relaxing, thinking about problems they’re having, work they’re behind on, brainstorming projects. Try writing a diary before going to bed, writing down the things in your head to save them for the morning.

Sleep isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity. Feeling well-rested will help you keep you focused and help you perform at your absolute best. So climb into your favourite pyjamas, dim those lights and have a good night’s rest.

Sweet dreams.

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