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It’s getting to that time of year again, when our kids disappear off to university.

And for first-timers, parents are often left worrying about how well our offspring are looking after themselves. Especially when their new-found freedom tends to mean lots of parties and boozing. Yet, going away to university isn’t just about the experience, it’s also about getting your degree too! Which means lots of studying, but in order to study and intake information to the best of our abilities, it’s essential that we ensure a healthy sleeping schedule.

StudentSleep is the time that our brain uses to recalibrate and repair itself, during which time our brain ‘files’ everything we learned that day into solid memory. So, if you don’t get enough sleep, then your brain won’t be able to convert everything you learnt during lectures to memory, meaning you’ll have to study more to keep up.

This needn’t be the case, though, if students develop their own sleeping routine aimed at maximising the quality of sleep they get, they can easily enjoy a party life while still being top of the class. Here are just a few tips to give your kids before they disappear off:

1: Maintain a Regular Sleep Schedule

Maintaining a regular sleep schedule at university is hard, but not impossible. The most important thing is to try and set a time to wake up every morning and stick to it. The temptation is always to sleep in at weekends or days when you have no early lectures, but your body will be far more thankful for a regular waking time such as 8am. This gives you enough time to get your 6-8 quality hours of sleep a night, while still having the option of staying up late, and enough time in the morning to get to a 9am lecture. On days where you don’t have early lectures you can spend your mornings catching up on projects, so you have more free time in the evenings.

2: Create a Sleep Friendly Environment

When you stay on campus, you keep everything in your bedroom. This makes it hard to create a barrier between your studying and where you sleep, as you do both in the same room. Instead, try to use a desk where you keep all your study materials, and do all your work there. Or, even use the library if you can. Never be tempted to study in your bed as this will make it harder for you to relax and sleep in your bed later as your brain will be confused over whether it’s time to relax or focus.

3: Limit Your Caffeine and Alcohol

You want to have fun at university, so you’re unlikely to limit your alcohol completely. But what is key, is to be sensible about it. Try to keep yourself hydrated at the same time as you drink by having a few glasses of water, as your sleep later will likely be interrupted if your body hasn’t had enough water – which will give you a headache the next day. More important is to try and keep that new Starbucks love under control and avoid caffeine after 4pm, as this will disrupt your sleep even on evenings you stayed in.

4: Be Wary of Naps

When you’re feeling tired, especially after a heavy morning of lectures, it can be tempting to spend your afternoons having a nap. Now a 1-2-hour nap after lunch can actually be beneficial, however, if you nap for any longer and any time after 3pm, you are likely to disrupt your sleep later. If you do plan on a nap, be sure to set an alarm and don’t oversleep.

University is all about fun and new experiences, making yourself have a good sleep routine might seem like a needless chore, but the better the sleep you have, the more you will enjoy yourself, as you won’t spend your days feeling sluggish!

Image courtesy of imagerymajestic at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

 

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