A Good Night’s Sleep is Closer Than You Think

Categories: Well-being
We all know what it’s like to wake up on the wrong side of the bed! Our fabulous summer intern from UCF, Taylor Haycock shares her sleep struggles as a college student, and what’s helped her get a good night’s rest!


Yes, sleep really is THAT important!

I consider myself a night owl, consistently staying up until midnight at the earliest (and on my phone, no less). I’m not good at waking up in the mornings, and when I eventually do, I still feel tired and unmotivated.

But this summer I made a change. One of my friends had an internship that required early wake ups, so out of necessity, they started getting in bed by 9PM. I figured I would give it a shot—getting more sleep definitely couldn’t hurt. So instead of shooting for a 12AM bedtime, I aimed to be ready for bed and under the comforter by nine. After two days of this habit, I was not only waking up earlier, but my morning grogginess was gone.

As a college student, sleep is a precious commodity. Even with the time management skills of Miranda Priestley’s executive assistant (go watch The Devil’s Wears Prada for reference), among all the excitement college has to offer, sleep tends to find its way to the bottom of the priority list. As a somewhat headstrong person myself, I couldn’t see the gain in an adjusted sleep schedule until I implemented it. My challenge for college students (or anyone who feels up for it): give it a try.

Integrate some of the tips below and see if there is a noticeable difference in your energy and motivation. Start with one and then add in more as your body adjusts to the changes.

Go to bed earlier.

  • When I went to bed early, I started naturally waking up before my alarm the next morning (my dream scenario) and feeling refreshed and energized.

Let your thoughts wander.

  • Going to bed earlier gave me the time to think before falling asleep. One of my biggest issues with falling asleep is my never-ending inner monologue. But building in the space to let my thoughts peter out instead of forcing them quiet in hopes of getting a full 8 hours was a game changer.

Put the technology away.

  • Noise is fine, I often need the soothing sounds of my favorite LSAT prep or movie review podcasts to lull me to sleep (for fellow preppers, Thinking LSAT, and for movie nerds, The Big Picture). But I can hear and listen without staring at my bright, mind numbing screen.
  • It also helps to turn your notifications off. Every buzz is a distraction that ignites your brain when you’re trying to smother the fire.

Try a new book.

  • Especially as a college student, it’s always “Go! Go! Go!” But this is a great time to try something you normally wouldn’t get to read. If the content bores you, you’ll fall asleep, and if you like it, you’ll have learned and experienced something new!

Use the Snug Bug Rug method.

  • “As snug as a bug in a rug” is one of my favorite similes in the English language because 1) it rhymes and 2) it can be executed flawlessly. As silly as it sounds, tucking myself in really helps me feel comfortable (and extra bonus: it prevents me from reaching for my phone).

Drink water.

  • Waking up dehydrated is AWFUL! It infects your dreams and ruins your night—drink water!

Comfort is the priority.

  • Make your sleep environment the best it can be for you. Do you need more pillows? An extra blanket? A/C or a fan? You know yourself best! When we feel comfortable, we relax our bodies and calm our brains, so it is important when trying to sleep to feel as comfortable as possible.

Sleep ALONE is not enough!

  • Exercise, hydration, healthy eating, and sleep all work together. While you can improve your lifestyle and wellbeing with better sleeping habits, these habits alone are not the magic solution! Integrate other healthy habits into your daily routine. Not sure where to start? Explore more of the Healthy West Orange site for ideas!

Of course, everyone is different, and some of what has worked for me, might not work for you. But being open-minded and willing to try has helped me establish habits that not only better prepare me for my day but make me feel great. Good luck!

If you’re experiencing trouble sleeping, be sure to see your healthcare provider! For more info on healthy sleep and sleep disorders, click here.

About the Author

Taylor is a senior at UCF studying political science. From linguistics to gender studies, she is fascinated by people and how they navigate the world.  She loves anything pop culture and does the New York Times Daily Mini Crossword every morning. She is also a tap dancer and is currently learning German and French.

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