After a long day, there’s nothing better than coming home and having your bed call to you for a great night of sleep. Tucked underneath our cozy blankets with our head cushioned by our soft pillow, sleep is definitely on every college student’s list of favorite things to do. But even if you love hitting the snooze button, the way you sleep might be affecting your health. So, are you sleeping right?
Sleeping on your stomach
As comfortable as it is to have your stomach lay flat on the surface of your mattress, sleeping on your stomach may cause neck and back pain. Because you need to turn your head to one side to breathe, you inevitably twist your spine. Tucking a small pillow or cushion under your abdomen could help take the pressure off your spine.
Eating before you sleep
We’ve all heard it before: don’t eat three to four hours before bed. But it’s hard not to want a little light snacking before going to bed. But sleeping on a full stomach, especially filled with hard-to-digest food, could be hazardous to both your circulatory and digestive systems. Bedtime snacks are great, but be careful what you’re eating and try to keep those late-night snacks on the light side.
Just as we college students attempt to squeeze in a week’s worth of studying during our midterms and finals, we tend to do the same to sleep. Binge sleeping, however, doesn’t promise the same amount of brain rejuvenation that consistent sleep throughout the week would. It may be tough to get those full six to eight hours a night, but squeezing in short power naps when you start to nod off is a better alternative to binge sleeping.
The wrong mattress
When Goldilocks thought the beds were too hard and too soft to sleep on, she was right. Sleeping on a mattress that’s either too hard or too soft can hurt your back. A too-soft bed doesn’t offer enough support for your spine, while a mattress that’s too hard can cause your spine to stiffen. Your mattress should be firm enough to support your spine and pelvis, but not so hard it’ll hurt you. Many college students invest in Tempur-Pedic mattress toppers to create the perfect bed, which is a worthwhile investment for your health in the long run.
A drink or two before bed may feel relaxing and could aid some in falling asleep quicker. However, consuming alcohol before bed interferes with your sleep cycle and stops your body from reaching REM sleep. It’s common to feel unrested, tired, and have trouble concentrating the next day. If you really need something to help you relax, try some warmed milk instead.
by Jane Lee