Going off to college or university is a huge milestone, and one that will certainly require making some adjustments. If you will be living in a dorm room with a roommate (or two), it will take some time before you get used to living together and learn more about each other’s daytime and nighttime habits. In particular, we want to talk about sleep.
Learning to sleep in a new environment can be challenging. Your new roommate may go to bed later than you, want to sleep later or perhaps they might be an early riser who likes to be up at the crack of dawn. No matter what, you’ll most likely have to adjust how you sleep in order to still get the sleep you need. Not to worry though, there is plenty you can do to support your sleep in your new dorm space, while still having fun and getting along with your room mate!
Dorm Room Sleep Checklist
There are three areas that you can work on to ensure you can still get the restful sleep you need. Take a look at each area listed below to learn more about how you can create a positive sleep environment and create sleep habits that will support a successful academic year.
Even before you meet your roommate, you can check out the space you’ll be sleeping in and make note of what might need to be changed. For example, if the blinds provided will let in too much morning light, consider putting up blackout blinds. There are some great travel black out blind options that would be perfect for a dorm room as they are easy to put on and can be removed when you don’t want them.
It may not always be possible, but if you can move your furniture to make the space more comfortable or ideal for sleep, go for it. That might mean that you want your bed facing a different way or having the two beds in the room separated a bit more to support a better night’s rest.
Another great option is to invest in decent storage that will help keep your room clean and organized. The space beneath your bed is a perfect place to use for storing items you don’t use every day. When your room is tidy, it will feel more relaxing and restful and make it easier to sleep at night.
When setting up your sleep environment, these sleep tools can go a long way in supporting quality sleep.
- Resist using your phone as an alarm clock and invest in a proper alarm clock that will not encourage you to serve social media well into the night.
- A sleep mask and a pair of ear plugs can help mask the noise and movement of your roommate if they tend to be awake later than you or need to get up earlier.
- A white noise machine is another great option for drowning out sounds. Make the suggestion to your roommate, and perhaps you can agree on a sound that works for both of you.
- Proper bedding. It can be tempting to select the most fun and trendy bedding for your dorm room bed, but keep function in mind. Quality sheets and pillows will improve your sleep experience.
- If you don’t find your dorm mattress comfortable, invest in a mattress topper or it might even be worth getting your own mattress if you are a sensitive sleeper.
Now that you have the right tools and a supportive sleep environment, the rest is up to you! We know that students are known for staying up late, but beware that late nights in front of technology will drastically affect your sleep. It will take you longer to fall asleep which means you will get even less rest that you probably really need. You should finish using all screens about an hour before you want to go to sleep.
You’ll also need to be mindful of managing your stress. Being away at school can be a stressful period with academic demands, extracurricular activities and social events. Stretching yourself too thin can be hard on your mental and physical health, which will affect your sleeping patterns. Remember that being well rested will actually help you manage stress better, so make getting enough rest a priority, even if it means saying no to something fun every once and awhile!
And don’t forget about naps! Naps are a great option to help make sure you are getting the sleep you need. But did you know there is actually a right way to nap? Learn more about taking a proper nap.
You Can Sleep Well This Year
Once you’ve done what you can to set yourself up for a well-rested year, give it time. Dorm life will take some getting used to, and you will most likely have to make some adjustments as the year progresses. Try and stay open-minded, and keep the lines of communication open with your roommate so that you can talk with them about your sleep needs and how to make sure you are both getting the rest you need.