College can be hectic and how you are sleeping at night may not seem like a priority in your life. Nothing could be further from the truth. Sleep plays a key role in every aspect of your life. Whether you get up for class or sleep in, whether you nod off during class, and whether you retain the information you heard in class. Ongoing poor sleep can lead to a persistent sense of fatigue, poor concentration, moodiness, difficulty retaining new information, and can weaken your immune system which increases your odds of getting ill.

Check out the following pointers to get the most out of your zzz’s. 1. Select a realistic bed time and stick to it. Let’s face it, you’ll probably not going to be in bed at 8:30PM. So pick a time that makes sense and fits into your life, but then stick to it. Give yourself no more than an extra 2 hours during the weekends, otherwise you will be cursing your weekend every Monday morning.

2. Respect your sleeping space. If your intention is to sleep then do just that. Turn off all lights and electronics including stereos, computers, tablets and music devices. If your dorm is noisy then put on some ear plugs.

3. Control all substances. Whether it is the caffeine in your coffee, tea or ‘energy drink’ or the alcohol in your Friday night drink, your sleep will be disrupted by the excessive use of stimulants or depressants (like alcohol). Moderation in consumption as well as the timing of their consumption is everything. No more than 3-4 cups of coffee a day, no caffeine after 4PM and no more than 5 units of alcohol a week are valuable rules of thumb to keep in mind.

4. Exercise regularly. Regular exercise, of pretty much any kind, will not only improve your overall daytime focus, concentration, alertness and endurance, it will also help you hit the sack earlier, and get more quality sleep than leading a sedentary lifestyle.

5. Take it easy on the late-night dining. Large, late and lard-laden dinners can easily become the norm on a campus-bound life. Maybe you skipped dinner and your neighbor is about to order some pizza or chicken wings, perhaps there’s some left-over Chinese food in the lounge your friends saved for you… the opportunities to gorge on greasy food late at night abound in college and making a habit of it will disturb your sleep. Moreover, it will disrupt your hormone profile and lead to excessive weight gain, more than if you had eaten the same meal during day time hours!

So it is vital that you develop a sensible habit of good quality and refreshing rest on a daily basis, especially so you will be fit and ready to get through crunch time leading up to exam time.

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