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Sleep Your Night Away

Sleep is such a beautiful thing and so essential to our well-being. Yet sleep is often elusive for students with swamped schedules, insomnia, or anxiety due to stress and uncertainty during this global pandemic.

By Alyssa Valdez

According to Your Guide to Healthy Sleep by the National Institute of Health, adults 18 years and older need 7-8 hours of sleep to function throughout the day. Though most of us miss that mark for a myriad of reasons.

Whether your brain switches to hyperactive the moment you hit the hay or for other varying factors, Tusk looked into ways to help with the restless woes we all go through.  

William Marelich, professor of Psychology at CSUF, avers that our lifestyle can affect the quality of sleep we receive. Sleep is crucial to our cognitive functions. If we don’t get enough, it can affect our actions and the way we make decisions throughout the day. 

“How we function and how we are is somewhat dependent on our sleep and sleep patterns,” Marelich said. “After a full day, the brain needs some type of rest and replenishment.” 

Many people have routines or rituals they follow everyday that should also extend to how they wind down their day.

To implement a sleep ritual, individuals should establish a set of steps to perform each night as a way to prepare for bed.” said Marelich. “Once a ritual is set, you will slowly wind down automatically. The ritual then acts as a trigger for sleep, though these rituals need to fit your lifestyle as well.”

As part of a healthy evening routine, The National Sleep Foundation advises on setting a digital curfew of at least 30 minutes before bedtime. Using electronic devices prior to sleep disrupts the body’s circadian rhythm (AKA internal clock). Blue light emitted from electronics subdues the release of melatonin, a sleep-inducing hormone, and delays the onset of REM, or deep and restorative sleep.

For those who love a late-night snack, there are certain foods that aid in catching more zzzz’s including warm milk, almonds, walnuts, and herbal teas. These snacks contain enzymes, nutrients, amino acids, and hormones that help you fall and stay asleep. You can also take melatonin as a supplement in the evening.

While exercising at night isn’t advised for a good night’s rest in a traditional sense, there are some workout routines that encourage sleep such as yoga, meditation, stretching, and self-massage to ease tense muscles and relax the mind through breathing.

Lastly, a cozy and sleep-conducive environment goes a long way in sleeping sooner than later. It’s best if you can rid your room of bright and noisy distractions that may keep you up at night. Your room’s temperature also plays a part in creating conditions conducive to sleep as a cooler room helps you sleep better under the covers.

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