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#UniversityMentalHealthDay | Sleep

By ResX 13 Mar 2024

Tomorrow, 14 March is #UniversityMentalHealthDay, a day where we unite to celebrate and support positive mental health.

We all have mental health, just like our physical health, we should not wait for it to deteriorate before we start taking care of it. There are things we can do each and every day to take care of our mental wellbeing. The theme for this year is sleep, a fundamental part of our physical & mental health, and yet something that is often overlooked in our busy schedules.

Juggling academic pressure, social life, and self-care in university can be incredibly challenging. But amidst the chaos, prioritising sleep is crucial for your physical, mental, and academic well-being. Here's why:

Physical Health

a man stretching next to a body of water

💪 Recharge and repair: While you snooze, your body fixes tissues, boosts your immune system, and balances vital hormones, keeping you physically in top form.

💪Muscle recovery: Whether you're hitting the gym or pulling an all-nighter, sleep rebuilds muscle tissue and reduces fatigue, keeping you energised for sports and daily life.

Mental Health

a close up of a fire

😌 Emotional regulation: Sleep deprivation disrupts emotional processing, making you more prone to stress, anxiety, and mood swings. Sufficient sleep improves emotional stability and resilience.

😌 Cognitive function: Sleep consolidates memories, enhances focus, and boosts mental agility. Sleep-deprived brains struggle with attention, problem-solving, and critical thinking, impacting your academic performance.

Academic Performance: 🧠 Improved memory and recall: Sleep strengthens memory pathways, facilitating learning and information retention, crucial for exams and assignments.

🧠 Enhanced focus and concentration: Well-rested students can pay attention in lectures, absorb information better, and avoid distractions, leading to deeper understanding.

🧠 Motivation and engagement: Sleep deprivation impairs motivation and makes academic tasks feel more daunting. Proper sleep fuels the energy and drive to tackle challenges and excel.

Develop a consistent sleep schedule: ⏰ Go to bed and wake up at the same time, even on weekends, to regulate your circadian rhythm, your body's natural body clock.

🛁 Create a relaxing bedtime routine: Wind down with calming activities like reading, taking a warm bath, or practicing mindfulness before bed.

🕯️Optimise your sleep environment: Make your bedroom dark, quiet, and cool for optimal sleep quality. A great tip is to avoid studying, playing games or being on your phone in the area where you sleep. If your brain associates this space with working or being entertained, it can struggle to relax and fall asleep.

📱 Limit screen time before bed: The blue light emitted from electronic devices can disrupt sleep patterns. Buying a stand alone alarm clock can be helpful so you can plug your phone in out of reach from your bed so it’s not the first and last thing you reach for.

🧘 Manage stress through healthy habits: Exercise, yoga, meditation, and spending time in nature can help reduce stress and promote better sleep. All our activities for #UniversityMentalHealthDay and our wider Health U, Us, Uni campaign are around reducing stress.

❓Seek help if needed: If you're struggling with chronic sleep problems, don't hesitate to consult a healthcare professional. Visit our webpage on sleep or speak to our wellbeing team for more help

Remember, prioritising sleep is not a sign of weakness; it's a powerful investment in your physical, mental, and academic success. By prioritising sleep, you'll be better equipped to handle the demands of university life and unlock your full potential.