Ways to achieve a healthy night’s sleep

graphic by Tyler Herron

graphic by Tyler Herron

As millennials, we have the habit of having our phones or laptops to our faces all the time. This isn’t a great, generation-wide habit, as you may have heard your parents tell you a million times. Technological devices can be helpful when googling “how to spell Mississippi”, which I still do not know how to spell. [Editors’ note: We got you.] But they can also work as a distraction, a big time consumer and, most importantly, they can disturb your sleep, which is a hot commodity for college students. I have recently been struggling to break the habit of staring at my phone like a zombie and checking my social media apps before I go to bed.

After doing some research, I learned that the key to getting a great night sleep is to be completely relaxed, and ending your night on technological devices does the exact opposite. Business Insider magazine has some research regarding this:

Studies have shown that being exposed to the blue-and-white light given off by phones, laptops, and other electronic gadgets at night prevents our brains from releasing melatonin, a hormone that tells our bodies it’s nighttime.”

So, I found a few relaxing activities that can help distract from using your phone and other electronic gadgets before going to bed.

Why read the latest ridiculous DailyMail story about the Kardashians when you can be a well-rounded individual and pick up a classic novel before you sleep? Reading relaxes the mind “” well, reading for fun dpes. When it comes to reading something as big as my Business Law textbook, my mind is not able to relax at all.

Let me get nostalgic and put it in perspective: Remember when your parents would read you bedtime stories just so you could get sleepy? Unfortunately, you no longer have the luxury of having parents read Dr. Seuss to you at your bedside, but reading to yourself accomplishes the same goal. If you aren’t a reader, then consider putting on a relaxing playlist and drawing. It doesn’t matter if you are good or not. It just helps you focus and empty your mind.

For those more physically inclined, stretching and meditating before you sleep has been proven beneficial for a great night sleep. It helps you not only to clear your mind, but slow down your heart rate, and it can be fun if you have a partner too! So get your roomie and start a nightly yoga ritual. Drink some tea too afterwards! This might sound posh, but it helps the body to rest. There are several teas that are great to drink before you hit the hay. One of my favorites is chamomile with honey, which helps you fall asleep faster. If you suffer from insomnia, banana tea might be your go-to since it helps your blood vessels and muscles relax. It sounds odd, but sometimes the weirdest things work.

Another tool that a lot of girls are partial to is a facemask; but this isn’t a tip exclusive to ladies! As strange as it may sound, facemasks hold plenty of benefit for men too. Do not worry, straight boys: Putting on facemasks will not change your sexuality. Having healthy skin does not discriminate based on gender. Here are a few of my favorites:

  1. The classic cucumber mask: This mask should be familiar to you. Just thinly slice some cucumbers and put them on your face for 15″“20 minutes, then rinse with room temperature water. This helps with redness and freshens the skin, which will help your skin glow.
  2. The sugar lemon honey mask: This is a go-to of mine because not only is it a mask, it’s also an amazing exfoliating scrub. All you need is half a cup of sugar, a teaspoon of honey and half a lemon. Mix it all together and scrub it all over your damp face. Leave it on for 15″“20 minutes and rinse with warm water. The sugar works as an exfoliant, the lemon brightens the skin and the honey prevents acne from popping up.

These suggestions might seem extra or difficult to fit in your nightly routines, but if you give it a try and stick with it, it will help. You will get better sleep at night and have more productive days.