Sleep Tip Experiment 1: Exercise

Well you guys, I did what I never thought I would do… I finally joined a gym.  After years of being a lazy couch potato, I caved and finally convinced myself that it was time to start taking care of myself.  Being the Sleepy’s Snooze Director, I read a lot of information about sleep, especially about sleep tips.  Every article and every blog post I would search always emphasized the importance of exercise when it comes to good quality of sleep.  It was time for me to take on my own research and start to practice what I preach.

I joined my gym about three weeks ago now and I go at least three times a week.  I tried the whole wake-up-an-hour-early-to-get-the-workout-in-before-work thing but that only lasted for the first week.  But now that daylight savings time is over and it’s a little brighter than midnight at 6AM I’m definitely going to give it another try.  It wasn’t that bad waking up earlier to hit the gym.  The toughest part was just getting myself out of my bed, but once I did I was ready to go exercise.  I would do about 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of light weights and after I was done, I was feeling great and super ready to take on my day.

But it’s tough to wake up before the sun rises, trust me I know (I was an intern at a radio morning show and needed to get up at 3:30AM to be at work by 5AM).  So, I started caving to the comfort of my bed when my alarm would go off at 6AM for the gym and opted for an extra hour and a half of sleep.  But that didn’t stop me from going to the gym, I then started going at night after work, which was kind of nice.  I go with my boyfriend because we motivate each other to actually go to the gym.  He’s teaching me racquetball, which is a ton of fun and pretty exhausting.  And then I got him to go to yoga class every Wednesday night with me.  It’s always good to go to the gym with someone because you can work out together or at the very least just get each other to go and workout as opposed to watching TV all night.

Now, from my own experience, I can tell you that since I’ve starting exercising at the gym, I have been sleeping outrageously well!  I feel like I get into deeper sleep than I ever have before; it’s amazing.  Even just going three times a week, I feel so much better in the morning after my restful sleep.  I absolutely, 100% vouch for exercise benefitting quality sleep.  I always thought I slept fine, but now I can say that I feel like I sleep very well.  Before I started working out, I would sleep straight to my alarm clock and still be groggy, even after getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night.  Now I’m waking up a little bit before my alarm goes off and I’m not shuffling my feet to the shower. 

It’s always great to research sleep tips for suggestions, but you’ll never know how it will affect you until you try them.  For example, with me going to the gym now, when I go at night sometimes I finish my workout as late as an hour before I go to bed but I don’t feel like it prevents me from falling asleep.  I’ll keep you posted on my sleep tip experiments to let you know what works for me and what doesn’t.

Have you tried any sleep tips?  What worked for you?

Keep checking back to my blog for updated sleep information as well as Sleepys.com for great sleep information as well as great mattresses and bedding that will help you sleep better.  Be on the lookout for Sleepy’s upcoming Veteran’s Day Sale too!

 

Contributor: Emily Barrett

College Sleeping Tips 101

I’m a little freaked out that come September I won’t be packing my life away and shipping myself back to college.  I just graduated this past May, and the more I think about not going back to school the more I want to crawl into the fetal position and cry.  But, there’s no time for crying in the fetal position in the real world, so to be more proactive with my yearning to go back to college, I’ll give you college-bound kiddies some sleeping advice that I wish someone told me.

Make a schedule: It wasn’t until my senior year that I learned to print out my schedule and hang it up on a wall so that I could actually SEE what I needed to do and where I needed to go.  Having that visual also showed me the windows of free time I had between my classes and internships.  If you lag during the day, put in your schedule time for a 20-30 minute nap each day, but no longer than that otherwise you will wake up groggy, defeating the purpose of napping.  Also, schedule in when you will do your work.  Having your schedule visible will put your mind at ease (making it easier to fall asleep).

  • Did you know, according to one study, that students who got 7-9 hours of sleep per night AND napped for 20-30 minutes a day were able to concentrate more easily thus directly relating to an increase in academic performance?

Ooh, look at the organization!

Get 8 hours of sleep: I NEVER pulled an all-nighter in college.  I came very close a few times, but never stayed awake for a full 24 hours.  My mentality was that nothing was more important than sleep (that must be one of the reasons I got this job).  If I didn’t have my work done by a certain hour, I would call it a night and wake up earlier to finish it.  Sleep is ALWAYS worth it.

Get sleep, but get it in your bed.

Find a workout buddy: It’s not just the “freshman 15,” it’s the sophomore struggle, the junior jiggle and of course, senioritis (it doesn’t just apply to homework).   Having someone go to the gym with you will motivate you to go and even compete with them while working out.  You need energy to get you through the workout and you get energy from a good night’s sleep.  Exercise and sleeping are the one-two punch when it comes to knocking off those extra pounds from the dining hall.

Invest in an eye mask: Why do you care what you look like when you’re sleeping?  It’s not like your roommate will wake up from their slumber to make fun of you.  Having that eye mask will be your savior on the nights that your roommate might be pulling an all-nighter.  It’s SO much easier to fall asleep when your room is as dark as possible, so if you’ve got a night owl of a roommate, the light being on won’t be a problem for you when you have an eye mask.

  • Lights are detrimental when it comes to falling asleep, another suggestion I have is to make sure that your laptop/computer screen is completely off (or shut closed) before you go to bed.  The light from the screensaver will make it harder for you (and your roommate) to get to sleep quickly.

    Is it me, or do eye masks make people look like super heroes?

Are you ready for my most important sleeping tip for college?  You’re going to hate it at first, but trust me, it will change your life (at least while sleeping).

TURN OFF YOUR CELLPHONE: Yeah I said it.  How can you live without your cell phone being turned on?  You’ll actually sleep more soundly without it.  If you use your cell as an alarm, most phones will turn back on when your alarm is set to go off the following morning.  Perhaps you’re are a little neurotic and worried about something going wrong in the middle of the night, then just turn your phone to be “Phone Only” so that only phone calls will go off.  It’s such a simple thing to do, you MUST try it.  Like most of these tips, I didn’t get to try this until my spring semester of my senior year, but after trying it, I wish I had done it sooner.   It made me realize that the only texts I was getting in the middle of the night were from, let’s just say, friends enjoying a night out (if you know what I mean) so they were never worth waking me up in the middle of the night to read.  Plus, those text become a lot funnier when you first read them in the morning (it will give you plenty to talk about at your 8AM lecture).

Seriously, thank me later on this one.

Those are just a few of my sleeping tips to try while your living (and loving) the college life.  Make sure to check back here throughout the semester as I give you more of my college sleeping tips and information.

 

Contributor: Emily Barrett