the back of someone's head while they sleep, brown pillows and doona

6 tips for better sleep

We all know sleep is important. After a good night’s sleep, we’re likely to feel on top of the world. But getting a good night’s sleep can be easier said than done.

When we get busy and stressed, sleep is usually the first thing thrown out the window. After all, when else is it possible to cram in those assignments? Or perhaps, for no explicable reason, you just can’t fall asleep. Maybe you thought you were sleeping well, but you feel tired every day?

Between 33-45% of Australian adults aren’t getting enough sleep. But sleep is as important for your health as movement and nutritious food.  Sleepiness, fatigue, and irritability are some of the major symptoms we experience when tired.

Most adults require between 7 and 9 hours of sleep per night. You probably know the amount that keeps you feeling fresh; it’s more for some people than others. The amount of people who are truly ‘short-sleepers’ is actually very low… in reality, most people are sleep deprived!

So how can we ensure a better night’s sleep? In no particular order, here are our top tips.

1. Dedicate time to unwinding before bed.

Set aside a period of time before bed to unwind. What this looks like for everyone will be different. If you’re a worrier, consider jotting down all your To-Do’s for the following day. A quick tidy-up of your space might also help ease your racing mind.

Avoid screens and vigorous exercise close to bedtime. Some yoga or stretches might make you feel ready for bed. Reading a physical book can help the eyelids droop, and at the same time might even rekindle your love for reading. Even 15 minutes of relaxing activity before bed can help, especially something like meditation, although a little more time will be better.

2. Cut down on long naps.

Don’t we all love a good nap? The choice of many procrastinators, a nap can be a great way to refresh. However, naps longer than about 20 minutes threaten to disturb a good night’s sleep that evening. This is especially true if you have a nap within 4 hours of your normal bedtime. Too much sleep now will push your bedtime later and later, disturbing your natural sleep rhythms.

3. Make your bed more comfortable.

Now if you can afford to upgrade your mattress, that’s great. But it can be expensive. It can also be difficult if you’re living in college or some wherewith an already provided mattress. A mattress topper is a great option, however. It can make an ageing mattress feel just a little bit better. A new pillow is also much more attainable for many of us. If you’re a side sleeper, consider a high loft pillow that gives your neck proper support. If you’re a back or front sleeper, a lower profile pillow will be better for you.

4. Eliminate blue light close to bedtime.

Electronic screens emit blue light that disturbs our natural sleep rhythms. There are a few ways we can combat blue light’s effect on our precious beauty sleep. If you can avoid screens altogether for a few hours before bed, that’s fantastic! However, for many of us, screens are such a part of our lives that a few screen-free hours before bedtime is not doable. Having to study in the evening is common. That’s where blue light blockers come in. There is a range of downloadable and built-in programs for your computer and phone that tone down blue light. f.lux is a good example. If you wear glasses, you can get blue light blocking filters added at an optometrist. Even if you don’t need glasses, you could purchase non-prescription glasses with blue light filters.

5. Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and cigarettes.

We all know that caffeine keeps us awake. That’s what led us into coffee’s sweet embrace in the first place! But you might not know that the nicotine in cigarettes also keeps you awake. And while alcohol makes us sleepy at first, it actually gives us a poorer quality sleep. If you can steer clear of these three things, especially later in the day, you’ll have a better chance at sound sleep.

6. Seek out professional help if you need it.

If you’re constantly tired, feel excessively sleepy during the day, cannot fall or stay asleep, it might be time to make an appointment with your doctor. There are many possible causes of poor sleep or tiredness. Your GP can investigate.

We hope these tips help you. Happy sleeping! Zzz…


If you are experiencing problems with your study, Advocacy & Welfare can help you request assignment extensions, special extensions of time, or apply for a remission of fees.

Contact us at advocacy@une.edu.au or (02) 6773 3116.

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