Insomnia is a common problem amongst college students. Sleeplessness can be a symptom of dorm-style living, academic, social, and financial pressures, erratic schedules, homesickness, and uncomfortable living situations. As an off-and-on insomniac of sorts myself, I’ve compiled a list of do’s, don’ts and helpful bits of information for the restless:
- When you were little, your parents probably told you to count sheep. Don’t. Counting anything only marks the passing of time.
- If you have one of those infrared, bright-as-all-hell alarm clocks, turn it around or flip it on its side. You don’t need the temptation of watching the minutes pass. It’ll only up the ante on your anxiety.
- This one might sound obvious, but don’t think about what you have to do tomorrow. Don’t stress the day ahead and the exhaustion with which you may have to face it. Sure, that’ll be the case, but you can confront that (or caffeinate that) when the time comes.
- Use a mantra or comforting phrase to will yourself into relaxation. The best ones are “tomorrow always comes” or “this too shall pass.” They don’t mean to sound melodramatic, but when you’ve been lying in bed for hours, the smallest problems suddenly seem far worse.
- Keep your phone on your desk or anywhere that’s not within reach from your bedside and keep it on silent. Just make sure you’ll still be able to hear your alarm when it sounds in the morning (if you use your phone’s alarm clock to wake you up).
- Sometimes it’s best to get out of bed for a little while. Go to your desk and read a book or magazine. Don’t do anything too stimulating – not even homework. While it may seem logical to use your wakefulness in a productive way, it’ll only wake you up more.
- Don’t turn on too many lights. For those of us with roommates, this one’s a given.
- Alright, this one’s going to sound kind of weird, but bear with me. Don’t pay attention to your heartbeat. (I could totally make a Tell-Tale Heart allusion here.) Just trust me on this.