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Impact’s Guide to Sleep

Recent studies have shown that 73% of students suffer at some point with a sleep disorder. These problems include not being able to sleep, not feeling fully rested and in extreme cases, sleepwalking. Now exams are well and truly over, Impact is here to help you ease back into the perfect sleeping routine. All these methods have been tried and tested!

How to… get the most from sleep after a night out and actually get up.

We’ve all been there. Fantastic night, stumbling into bed in the early hours of the morning and forgetting all about the degree side of university life. No sooner has your head hit the pillow when your alarm clock jolts you back to life with its incessant beeping, caring not for your hangover or limited sleep. It’s easy to hit the snooze button and roll over at this point. But unfortunately Nottingham currently do not offer a degree which involves no work. I checked. Preparation is the only remedy for this sleep issue. Drinking a glass of water before bed may sound like a cliché but there is a reason so many people swear by it as a hangover cure. Arranging to walk into university with a course friend or housemate also should spur you into getting up; No-one likes to be woken up by an angry friend at your door or over the phone. Finally invest in a second alarm clock with a horrible sound (static from the radio works particularly well) to wake you if you do press snooze. The trick is to place it somewhere in your room where you have to leave the comfort of your bed to shut off. Once you’re out of bed, you’re up and may as well go to your lecture.

How to… get the perfect nap.

Everyone has their own beliefs about napping but a few minutes sleep in between lectures can actually improve your brain power and motivate you. In the stages of sleep (drifting off, brain activity slowing, deep sleep, REM sleep) it is best to wake up after the first stage which is roughly twenty minutes. Any longer means you fall into deep sleep and will wake groggy, irritable and less motivated to work. Or you could try a caffeine nap: drinking a cup of coffee or energy drink before having a nap will ensure that you wake up after twenty minutes. This is how long it takes for the caffeine to enter your system.

How to… deal with insomnia.

Almost every adult would say that at one time in their life they have had trouble sleeping and students are no exception. The first step to curing this is finding out why. Usually for students this is stress related. Pressure from workloads, money worries, relationship problems… the list is endless and it’s no wonder we can find ourselves tossing and turning into the dawn. Unfortunately, alcohol and caffeine will not help the situation and should be the first thing to go if you find yourself unable to sleep. Getting out of bed, reading a book and concentrating on relaxing should enable your mind to rest and let you drift off. Avoid looking at clocks and working out how much sleep you’ll get if you fall asleep soon, it will only stress you out more. Similarly stay away from laptops and phones. Electronic and bright screens will make you tired but keep your brain active – the worst combination.

How to… deal with sleepwalking

A fifth of people will at some point have suffered from somnambulism (sleep walking), me included. Often sleepwalkers have no memory of what happened, can suffer from sleep deprivation and often become stressed from the condition. Scientists still are unsure why this happens, but sleepwalkers are often trying to achieve a goal like finding an item or doing a household task. It really is a myth that if you wake a sleepwalker you’ll kill them. But it shouldn’t be attempted as sleepwalkers have been known to become violent once woken. Some people have actually killed while sleepwalking (and got away with it) so don’t say you haven’t been warned! Tips to deal with the phenomena are to lock all doors and try to move anything that you could trip over or injure yourself on. I’ve found that putting a large piece of tinfoil by the bed wakes me up gently when I stand on it and prevents me doing any damage. Also make sure someone knows about your night-time adventures and can look after you if it does occur.

Lucy Kenderdine

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