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Unlocking the Power of Consistent Sleep: Your Key to Peak Performance and Well-being

This article was written by one of our Peer Wellness Coaches. We hope you enjoy this read and learn how to master a consistent sleep schedule!


If you’re anything like me, as the winter semester is approaching its end, maintaining a consistent sleep schedule becomes increasingly challenging. With final assignments looming and exams on the horizon, sleep often falls to the bottom of the priority list, if it even makes the list at all (guilty as charged!). But let's delve into why this mindset needs an adjustment and how we can achieve it!

 


As difficult as it may be to carve out time for sleep, neglecting it sets the stage for a less productive day ahead. It can spiral into a harmful cycle of late nights leading to unproductive days, followed by more late nights... I'm sure many of us have experienced this familiar pattern. So, as counterintuitive as it may seem, it's crucial to set aside work for the night and prioritize sleep! Give yourself the 7-8 hours (at least!) that your body requires.


Another common struggle, which I'm willing to bet resonates with a few of you, is actually falling asleep once you're in bed. Allocate 15 minutes before your desired bedtime to unwind and ease into sleep. Use this time to journal, read, listen to a podcast, colour, or engage in any other relaxing activity that distracts you from your to-do list. I understand that as a student, it's tough to justify taking this time away from work. However, just like you make time to eat and drink throughout the day, prioritizing sleep is essential for your overall health and well-being!


Other ideas that you can try to improve your sleep: 

  • Make sure your sleep area is cool and dark 

  • Limit your exposure to electronic screens for at least 30 minutes before bed 

  • Avoid consuming caffeine in the afternoon and evening (maybe that afternoon Starbucks drink can be decaf?) 

  • Try to go to sleep at the same time each night 

  • If you have pesky thoughts that won’t leave you alone as you’re trying to drift off, write them all down so you can let them out and come back to them tomorrow if need be 

 

Last but not least, to successfully bring any of these tips into action in your own life, you should find a way to hold yourself accountable! A great way to begin your accountability journey is by making a specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goal for yourself. By setting a SMART goal, it’s easier to break your goal down into steps and to know when your goal itself is actually complete (cue dopamine hit!).



Though it is helpful to be given the tools to find your success individually, if you’re anything like me, you know this tool isn’t quite enough to keep you on track. For those of you—like me—who are a bit less self-disciplined, another idea is to find external motivation. The Peer Wellness Coaches at the Health Promotion Hub are an awesome judgement-free resource who can help you do exactly that! Our Peer Wellness Coaches are students too so you can trust that they’ve been there too—but they also have great suggestions and resources to help you out!

 

Join me in bringing these tips into your life so we can have more success both inside and outside of school this month!  Take care of yourself and good luck with the rest of the term!

   

References

American Academy of Sleep Medicine (AASM). (2021, April 2). Healthy sleep habits. Sleep Education. https://sleepeducation.org/healthy-sleep/healthy-sleep-habits/  

Hersh, E. (2020, August 17). Sleep hygiene explained and 10 tips for Better Sleep. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/sleep-hygiene#manage-stress  

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