I ordered a Fitbit after wanting to keep track of my activity for quite some time. With co-op coming to a close, I thought “girl treat yo self” and pre-ordered the newest model, the Charge 3. Although it has many great features, the one I became obsessed with was the sleep tracking. Unfortunately, my tracking started right as Drexel’s midterms season rolled around, so I was more than optimistic when I set my sleep goal to 8 hours per night. I also set a sleep schedule goal, where I aimed to sleep between 11:30pm and 7:30am. My Fitbit was set to remind me every night at 11:15pm to start getting ready for bed. You can imagine how cruel it felt when my wrist would buzz reminding me to wind down for bed soon when I was still over a half mile away from my bed, in the library with hours of studying still ahead of me. Each night I thought that it would be alright and when I finally did get into bed I would pass out and get some quality deep sleep. Apparently I was wrong.
To my surprise, every morning my Fitbit would tell me that I was spending significant portions of the night awake or restless. I couldn’t understand how I was possibly so restless if I was exhausted. After seeing this, I was determined to improve the quality and quantity of my sleep.
Here are some tips for getting better sleep:
- Track yourself! You don’t need a fancy watch or app to do it. (If you are interested in sleep apps, you can check out this article for some good ones!) You can keep a post it note by your bed and jot down what time you go to bed and wake up. You can calculate your weekly sleep average (c’mon engineers, it’s simple math!) and look for weekly patterns. By writing it down or tracking your sleep in some capacity, you will learn more about your sleep habits and may feel more motivated to stick to your schedule.
- Don’t let the last thing you look at before bed be a screen! During my sophomore year, I would read a little bit every night before bed even if it was just a page. I felt so much better and I found that falling asleep was actually easier. Plus it helps you to slowly tackle that reading list that you never seem to have time for. If you have to look at a screen late at night, make sure you set it up to be in night mode where the colors are adjusted to be easier on your eyes.
- Put your phone on do not disturb! Don’t let late night notifications keep you awake. You can adjust your settings so your favorites will still be able to call you if there is an emergency. This term, I am aiming to not look at my phone for the rest of the night once I put it on do not disturb. Most notifications can wait until morning anyways!
- Wear a sleeping mask or ear plugs! If the noises of West Philly are keeping you up, try some ear plugs. I know there are some nights when I feel like all I hear as I am falling asleep is “bus is turning”. If your shades are insufficient or your roommate likes to keep lights on, invest in a sleeping mask. They are much cheaper than blackout shades and it is portable so you can take it with you on trips.
- Drink decaffeinated tea! Drinking tea as you wind down your nightly activities will help you to relax. Plus it is delicious! For a list of some of the best night-time teas and why they are beneficial, check out this article.
- Don’t nap in your bed! For the past 3 years, I have made a point to never actually nap under my sheets and comforter. Instead, I have a blanket that I use specifically for naps that I use while I sleep on top of my comforter. Although this may sound silly, it has helped my body distinguish between when it is time for a short nap and when it is time for a longer period of sleep.
With this new term approaching, I am hoping to finally set my sleep schedule and reach my sleep goals! If you have tips for getting better sleep that you’d like to share, comment them below!