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When nights are slumberless

| Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The effects a bad night’s sleep can have is not to be underestimated, and though the causes of insomnia can be difficult to determine, its negative consequences are readily apparent. Daytime sleepiness, irritability, difficulty concentrating and forgetfulness are just some of the immediate results of failing to get the clinically recommended seven to nine hours. Of course, the schedule of a typical college student can be, in comparison to most of the population, odd to say the least. A regular sleep pattern is easy to lose track of in the midst of so much work to do and so many social events to explore.

But high-quality sleep must remain a priority if we’re to perform at our best, and for the “50 to 70 millions of Americans” who suffer from sleep disorders, it certainly is not. To that end, if you’ve been having consistent difficulties with getting adequate rest, there are plenty of home remedies you can try.

The key is to maintain proper sleep hygiene. Sleep hygiene merely refers to the actions you take (and the things you avoid) in preparing for bedtime. The first, and perhaps the most difficult to follow, is to keep to the same routine. That is, ideally you should go to bed and wake up at the same times each day. We are creatures of habit, and having a routine allows your body to anticipate bedtime, releasing the melatonin so essential for drowsiness. Second, if you have a tendency of waking up during the night, do not stay in bed. Sit on a chair, read some poetry or pray a rosary until you feel sleepy again. Just make sure you avoid any electronics throughout the night (blue-light interferes with the circadian rhythm.) Regular exercise can also be great, just try not to workout in the hours approximating your bedtime, lest the endorphins and excitement keep you awake longer than you would otherwise.

Finally, the University McWell Center, located on the second floor of St.Liam’s offers many resources and tips, including a free sleep aid packet. Sleep, like diet and exercise, influences all other areas of our lives. A consistent lack of it can even make you depressed. However, with proper sleep-hygiene, any sleep debt can be paid off in no time.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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