Ask Evergreen: Sensitive Sleeper

How to fall asleep and stay asleep

Ask Evergreen is a weekly advice column by the students of The Lumberjack

Dear Evergreen,

I’m a sensitive sleeper. How do I stay asleep all night?

Dear Sensitive Sleeper,

Falling asleep and staying asleep can be challenging, especially if you live in a community environment like dorms or apartments. There are a few things you can try before heading to bed that may help you sleep through the night.

Use earplugs or other noise-cancelling items. Earplugs are a blessing when you have noisy neighbors. Pop a pair in your ears and listen to your heartbeat and breathing. The rhythmic melody of these two sounds may help distract you from outside noise.

Use white noise to help you sleep. The Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine Division of Rhode Island conducted a study on the effects of white noise on patients’ sleep in intensive care unit environments that are a cacophony of noise. The study found white noise facilitates less sleep disruption. You can conduct a similar study on yourself. Try turning on a fan or downloading a white noise app and see how it affects your sleep.

Have a warm drink. Old wives’ tales suggest having a warm glass of milk to help you sleep. For those who don’t drink milk, try having a hot cup of non-caffeinated tea. There are even specific tea blends to aid restful sleep. I recommend a tea blend with chamomile, mint or lavender elements.

Get all your priorities out of the way so you don’t worry about them. If you don’t have assignments to worry about, you might sleep better and skip those crazy school panic dreams. Try completing as much work as you can to put your mind at ease. Give yourself some time before bed to relax away from your work to let your brain have a chance to disconnect.

Don’t use your phone before bed and avoid screens. A study by the Lighting Research Institute in New York found blue light from phone screens and other digital devices can disrupt your body’s natural melatonin release habits. Give your body and mind a decompression period away from screens before trying to fall asleep.

Get a heart monitoring device. Fitbits and Apple Watches can record your sleep patterns and resting heart rate. While these devices can be pricey, they also offer other life applications that can make them worth it. If you already have one, start paying attention to that sleep data.

Sweet dreams!



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