4 Tips for Beating Sleep Deprivation in College

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College means a busy time in your life. You take around 15 credits of classes, all of which assign you loads of homework, you try to work 20-40 hours/week, and, on top of it all, you still try to have a social life.

The result leaves you feeling a little sleep deprived sometimes. Here are four tips to help you beat sleep deprivation in college.

1. Caffeine

Everyone knows how useful caffeine can be. That's why some people literally cannot function until they’ve had their morning coffee. Even if you get your caffeine in the form of a Pepsi.

It doesn't really matter what way you get your caffeine, it will do the job. However, be careful not to rely too heavily on caffeine since it can still cause some health issues later on.

When you sleep, you produce adenosine. That adenosine binds to adenosine receptors which slow down nerve cell activity and make you feel drowsy, allowing you to sleep.

Caffeine looks like adenosine, so it is able to bind to the adenosine receptors. Instead of making nerve activity slow down though, it makes it speed up. The result is your brain feeling more awake. Just remember that caffeine can’t replace sleep, so you will feel terrible if you try to swap sleeping for caffeine.

2. Don't stretch yourself thin

You can easily overbook yourself in college if you’re not careful. Save yourself time, money, and precious sleep by recognizing the limitations of your schedule. It’s impossible to take 15 credits, work 40 hours a week, have a great social life, and get a good amount of sleep all at the same time.

Cut back on credit hours if you need to work more or find ways to cut back on your spending if you can’t work enough. Instead of going out to eat, make dinner at home. Instead of living in a luxury apartment, live in an affordable college housing, and rent your textbooks instead of buying them.

3. Shower

One of the quickest ways to get yourself up in the morning is to take a cold shower. The icy water makes you alert very quickly but if you're not a daredevil who enjoys cold showers, even a regular shower can help you start moving and feeling more awake.

It’s tempting to sleep-in to the last second when you don’t get as much sleep as you want in a night,  but waking up and allowing yourself time to get active and get refreshed before diving into classes or work can help you have more natural energy.

4. Have a recovery day

When it comes down to the basics, your body needs sleep. It is vital to survival. So, make sure you are getting at least some sleep every night, even if it’s not the full 8 hours you want.

Listen to your body and recognize its needs. If you wake up completely exhausted and it's clear you couldn't get through 5 hours of classes and an afternoon shift at work, take a recovery day. Give yourself a day off to sleep, relax and find new energy.

Taking a small break to take care of your basic needs helps you feel much more prepared for the next days or weeks. College is tough enough and it might challenge your sleeping habits, so remember to take good care of yourself in the midst of your hectic schedule.

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