Sweet Dreams

Adela Penagos, PhD, President

Every week, on Sundays, I get up at 8 am to go to my favorite class at the gym: kick-boxing.  Lately, instead of providing me with the peaceful retreat I had endured for the past four years, my kick-boxing class is becoming a stressful experience, mainly because I have not been able to sleep as well as I used to the night before my class.  As a result, at times, my workout is not as productive as it used to be and I am a bit more edgy.  This experience has encouraged me to ask the following questions: Why is sleep so important to our wellbeing? What can we do to become less sleep deprived?

1.     Sleep helps you to be more alert to get your work done.

When I get between 7 and 8 hours of sleep, my brain rests, and when I wake up I have much more energy, which allows me to think more clearly, get more accomplished in less time, and pay more attention to detail.  This in turn makes me much more successful and keeps me more positive.  One of my advisees made a commitment during his first year in college to get 7 hours of sleep each night.  As a result, he was able to excel in his courses, put forth more energy into making stronger friendships with peers and professors, and by and large had the best year of his life.



2.     Sleep is a time, money, and energy saver.

When I am rested, I am able to complete all tasks quicker, as I do not have to push my brain to remind me what I need to do. It automatically happens as I am more focused.  Furthermore, I do not need to drink as much coffee; hence, I end up saving a great deal of money in my daily budget.

3.     Turn off your devices earlier and enjoy a more restful night.

In order for our brain to shut down through the night, it is very important that we turn off our devices well before going to bed.  I turn off my laptop between an hour to half an hour before my sleep time and try to stop looking at my smart phone at least 30 minutes prior to my bedtime.  It is also important not to check our phones in the middle of the night or this will play a trick on our brains making them believe we are awake.



As you embark onto your college journey, make sure to get into the habit of getting enough sleep.  This will allow you to enjoy each day without being edgy, maximize your time while getting all tasks accomplished, and will keep you positive.