Pop the champagne, throw your caps in the air and let the parties begin- you’ve just graduated college! Those four years (give or take a year or two) of hard work, long nights, self-discovery, and making life-long friendships are coming to an end and the real world is loudly knocking on your door. While it may seem scary right now, transitioning from college to the real world isn’t as hard as it may seem; it’s ok to not have your entire life figured out the day after you move your tassel to the left. That being said, as you graduate and start adulting, your sleeping habits need to follow suit. We’ve put together a few ways to make sure your sleeping habits graduate from adolescence with you.
Keep A Consistent Sleeping Schedule
College students notoriously have a very inconsistent sleep schedule stemming from morning classes starting at different times each day, easily being able to skip classes, partying on the weekdays, napping in the middle of the day, staying up late to cram for a big exam and then sleeping in late on the weekends. Irregular and inconsistent sleep schedules, however, are not sustainable as you get older and can actually have negative effects on your circadian rhythm, which can make you feel like you’re constantly jet lagged. You can’t sleep through your meetings like you could your 8 am lecture. To make sure you’re waking up feeling refreshed and ready to take on the day, aim to go to bed at the same time every day and wake up at the same time every day…even on the weekends.
Save Your Mattress For Sleeping Only
With roommates and such irregular sleep schedules, it’s so easy to use your bed for watching tv and Netflix binges, eating a midnight snack, a comfy study spot and even a place to hang out with your friends. Now that you’ve graduated, it’s time to give your mattress a break and only use it for sleeping. When you do other activities in bed, like watch tv or read, it makes it harder to wind down at night. By associating your bed just with sleep, getting to sleep at your regular bedtime will be easier.
Upgrade Your Sleep Space…Including Your Mattress
As you start growing up, your sleep space needs to grow up as well. There are a few things you need to make sure your post-college bedroom has in order to make sure you are a well-rested, fully-functional adult. First, make sure there are not sources of light that you can’t control. All light from televisions, cell phones and from your window should be blocked because they mess with your internal clock and sleep quality. Also, make sure your bedroom can get cool at night- if you have a lot of windows that make the room bake in the sun during the day, try getting blackout curtains or a fan. And finally, it’s officially time to upgrade your mattress. You should think of your mattress as an investment in yourself because of how much your sleep can affect your health. Often times with mattresses, you get what you pay for, so don’t just get the cheapest mattress because you may regret that as you try to go to sleep.
Avoid Caffeine And Alcohol Before Bed
We know and understand that in college the norm was to indulge in a few beers at the bar and then come home and immediately pass out, or toss back a bunch of espresso as you tried to stay up late preparing for a midterm, but now that you’re leaving the college world, it’s time to leave these habits behind. Alcohol may make you fall asleep faster, but it prevents you from getting the high quality sleep you need in order to perform your best the next day. And while we all know the negative effects caffeine has on sleep, many don’t realize that consuming caffeine up to six hours before bedtime can disrupt your sleep. Now that you’ve walked across that stage and have a diploma in your hands, restrict your alcohol and coffee consumption to earlier in the day.