Health on a Budget: Try these sleep strategies to help combat zombie syndrome

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Our campus is covered in zombies.

   Or to be more exact, by this point in the semester, our campus is full of sleep-deprived people. The resemblance to zombies stands, though. 

  It is pretty common knowledge that sleep is important to overall health. I want to go over ways to get not just more sleep, but get a greater quality of sleep even with school, homework, work and personal relationships vying for our attention.

Can’t sleep

   According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a simple way to start fixing your inability to fall asleep is to keep a sleep journal for about 10 days. I personally like the pen and paper method of journal keeping.

   Tracking things like when you last drank a caffeinated beverage, naps you’ve taken, and the amount exercise you’ve done will help you see if you’ve created patterns of behavior that lead you to be unable to sleep.

Uncomfortable bed

   I lived in student housing for years, and the provided beds can be absolutely awful. So while I was grateful for not having to buy and lug around my own bed, I usually had to do something about the lumpy mattress.

   A fairly inexpensive option is to get a mattress topper. Using our local Walmart prices, mattress toppers start at $9.94, ranging from simple pads to thick memory foam toppers.

   As a fun bonus to having a twin bed, the twin-sized toppers are the cheapest. So there is something good about having a small bed.

Power nap

   Kindergarten was a dream place where we got to nap at school. However, something to consider is that even in kindergarten, we didn’t sleep endlessly. There was a set duration to the nap.

   According to the Mayo Clinic website, there are some steps to utilizing naps properly. Naps should be  around 10–30 minutes, as a longer nap can leave you more lethargic. The optimal time is around two or three in the afternoon, as it is early enough not to interfere with your evening sleep schedule. Try to nap in a quiet place; naps that are constantly interrupted by noises and light can be even more exhausting than not napping at all.

Too busy

   Time management, or the lack of it, is what is needed if you find yourself saying you just don’t have time to sleep.  More than once I’ve watched “just one more episode” or had homework I had to stay up late finishing because I didn’t manage my time better. 

   Sleep seems to be that block of time we think we can shortchange. But if you’re up late studying, according to health.com, you’re really better off sleeping. Your brain needs that rest to help you process things you’ve learned.

   Give your sleep a higher priority on your to-do list. As I’ve gotten better at getting more rest, I have found it easier to get up and exercise, manage my weight, retain what I’ve read, and stay more positive.

   So drop the zombie act and pick up a few more hours of sleep.