5 sleep hacks you need to know

Results Day is looming and you’re probably feeling a little panicked. Nerves are natural but they can lead to sleepless nights, which in turn can boost your anxiety levels even further. No doubt you’ll be up super early tomorrow refreshing UCAS to find out if you got in, so it’s even more important you get a good night’s rest beforehand. As a passionate advocate for sleep, I’m coming to the rescue with a few tips to get you off to La-La Land.

1. No caffeine after 2pm

If you’re not sleeping well, you’re probably pretty tired throughout the day, and to make it through you’ll probably want to turn to your caffeinated best friends. Don’t. Really, I don’t think you should have any caffeine at all. Caffeine increases anxiety and sends your energy levels spiking and dropping all day. Ain’t nobody got time for that. If you’re in need of an energy boost throughout the day, opt for some fresh food or even some lemon water.

2. Have carb & protein-rich supper

I know, it sounds crazy. Carbs? Before bed? Aren’t they the energy foods? Yes, yes they are. But carbs and protein foods help boost tryptophan, an amino acid that makes you sleepy (that’s why mum’s roasts always leave you full and drowsy on a Sunday afternoon). I’m not talking a second dinner here, we’re not hobbits, but some peanut butter on toast or even a piece of fruit can help ease you into a restful slumber.

3. Gadget-free zone

The bright lights from your gadgets, the occasional buzzing from your phone on your bedside table, and even the ticking of a nearby click, can all make sleeping difficult. The light factor is especially important, our sight is our strongest sense and the amount of light we’re exposed to can influence our hormone secretion, making it more difficult for us to sleep. If you must have gadgets in your room, unplug them each night and, if you need an alarm clock for the morning, put it on the other side of the room with the light facing away.

4. Make your last hour gadget-free

Look, I know. I’m as addicted to the tele and my phone as you are. But you should be spending the last hour of your day unwinding and getting ready for sleep. And, believe it or not, there are things to do that don’t involve the internet. Got any books collecting dust in the corner? Need to get anything ready for tomorrow? Well, now’s the time to do it. Oh, and while we’re at it, did you know the colour blue keeps you awake and alert? Yep, that’s right, ever wondered why Facebook, Twitter and Tumblr are all blue? Are you starting to understand now why you seem to waste hours every night scrolling your news feed?

5. Lavender

I’ll let you in on a little secret. When I was doing my GCSE’s, I was super anxious about my exams. Feeling sick, couldn’t sleep; the whole hog. Then one day, a really kind substitute teacher pulled me aside after class, pulled out some handmade lavender bags out of her handbag and told me “keep them by your bed at night and take them into your exams with you.” Well, I had never slept so well until that night, I was gobsmacked. Now I have lavender incense, lavender hand wash, lavender everything, and I sleep like a baby. Lavender is great for reducing your depression and anxiety levels and helps you sleep. My mum may have been onto something when she kindly pointed out “err that’s what old grannies use”, but it will become your best friend if you’re struggling to sleep, need a mascot for future exams, or if you just want some nice calming scents in your room. Good night folks, blessed dreams, and good luck! Feature Photo ℅ Pixabay

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