My son is in his first semester of college and I recently discovered (with a little help from Instagram) that he’s been slamming back the energy drinks. I knew it was coming. He’s taking classes, working a part-time job, playing lacrosse, and living in a dorm with four other guys. He’s tired and stretched to the max, like many other students. So, along with the time change and upcoming holidays and finals, I thought we should revisit some tips on getting some good sleep – not energy from a bottle, but the best kind of energy – sleep.
What you can do to get more sleep:
- Take advantage of the extra hour in the time change. Feeling tired at 10:00? Then go ahead and hit the rack. You can use the extra rest.
- Go to bed when you feel sleepy. When you push yourself to stay up, you can get a second wind and end up awake for many more hours.
- Turn off the screens – tv, phone and computer light signal the brain it is time to be awake.
- Establish your sleep times and stick with it. Make rest a priority.
- Don’t eat, drink or do homework right before bedtime. Stick to quiet, calm activities and a routine, such as a shower or reading to signal your mind it is time to fall asleep.
- Naps can be great as long as you don’t sleep too long or right before bedtime.
What can you do to stay safe behind the wheel:
It’s important to recognize when you are too tired to drive. Difficulty focusing, heavy eyelids, daydreaming, drifting out of your lane, yawning and feeling restless or aggressive are all signs of being drowsy and time to pull over and take a break to wake up or take a nap.
Before you drive, consider whether you are:
- Sleep-deprived or fatigued (6 hours of sleep or less triples your risk).
Suffering from sleep loss (insomnia) or poor quality sleep.
Driving long distances without proper rest breaks.
Driving through the night or when you would normally be asleep.
Taking medications that make you tired (cold tablets, antihistamines).
Studying a lot or attending more activities than usual, which may be decreasing your sleep time.
Driving alone or on a long, rural, dark or boring road. It’s much safer to take along a passenger to help you stay awake.
Make some changes for a week and see how you feel during the day. You’ll be more alert, happier and better able to get through your day without crashing. I guarantee it, or your money back.
Tips taken from drowsydriving.org>
Get more tips on nighttime driving>
Read about teens and sleep>