Watching a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed high school graduate head off to university can send shivers down the spine of any helicopter parent. As they step onto campus for the first time, you may be skeptical that your teen has prepared accordingly for this new stage of life, leaving you to cross your fingers that college life won’t wreak havoc on your first-year student.
While packing the necessary dorm essentials and imparting wisdom on your impressionable teen can help avert college-related crises, refined time-management skills and a fully-stocked mini-fridge will only take your student so far. An often overlooked aspect of college success is a good night’s sleep, something first-year students seem to be immune to.
Between late-night study sessions and rowdy dorm parties, finding the time to sleep soundly can be challenging for first-year college students. Regardless, being well-rested is critical if they hope to shine in their courses and take advantage of everything higher education offers. Luckily, there are plenty of tips and tricks to better sleep that you can instill upon your fresh-faced student.
Gift them a high-quality mattress topper
Unfortunately, if your child is staying in student housing, chances are the mattress included in their room is worn-out, firm, and uncomfortable. While you may not want to purchase a brand new mattress, investing in a high-quality topper can significantly reduce discomfort and improve sleep quality. Between breathable, germ-resistant fibers and cooling, comfortable padding, your student will sleep deeply with the right mattress topper.
Help them set a sleep schedule
One of the most challenging aspects of achieving a restful night’s sleep is consistency. While it’s tempting to sleep in on the weekends and stay up late for last-minute studying, you should insist your child stick to a sleep schedule as often as possible. If they can keep their internal clock on a set routine, they can increase their energy levels and wake up revitalized each day.
Make sure they avoid excessive caffeine
Although some students utilize caffeine to help them stay awake during lectures and late-night study sessions, too much can disrupt their sleep cycle, ultimately draining their energy. Encourage your child to avoid drinking energy drinks or coffee late in the day to keep a healthy sleep cycle and avoid mild insomnia symptoms.
Encourage them to stay active
A common struggle for freshman is keeping a consistent exercise routine as they begin school. Although it’s normal for students to become less active as they adapt to new routines and significant lifestyle changes, staying active is essential for their sleep and overall health. Something as simple as a daily walk or yoga in the morning can decrease insomnia, increase energy levels, and stimulate a healthy sleep cycle. By encouraging your child to stay active during school, they’ll have more restful, revitalizing sleep.
Teach them about the importance of adequate sleep
Although you’re not physically at school with your child, you can still impact their decisions by teaching them about critical lifestyle habits and improvements. Sleep affects your brain and bodily functions, which makes it a significant aspect of overall good health. Have a conversation with them about the importance of a healthy sleep routine, discussing how much sleep they should be aiming for, why deep REM sleep is crucial, and how to stay consistent.
While it’s impossible to ensure your child takes your advice and follows through on healthy sleep habits, it’s worth imparting the knowledge you do have in hopes that one day they’ll find it helpful. Help them avoid sleep-deprived lectures and delusional late-night study sessions by urging them to set a schedule, avoid excessive caffeine, and stay active for a restful night’s sleep.