Believe it or not, the hardest part about adjusting to college life may not be the advanced curriculum. For a lot of freshmen, it’s adjusting to the living conditions. Having to sleep in a room that you’re not used to can not only make it difficult to sleep, it can also negatively affect the quality of sleep that you actually get.
This is especially true for freshmen who’re used to having their own rooms back at home, or those who need to move out of their home states for university. But don’t move home just yet. There’s a bunch of ways to turn an uncomfortable dorm room into a veritable sleep oasis.
Respect Each Other’s Space
It’s hard enough to adjust to a new room that you have to yourself; it’s even harder with a room that you’re sharing with others. Limited dorm space can not only keep you awake, it can put a damper on roommate relationships, leading to anxiety, which can only lead to more insomnia. You can prevent this from happening by creating boundaries and respecting each other’s private space.
The first step to creating a sleep oasis in your dorm is ensuring positive vibes in and around the space that you sleep in. Consult your roommate or roommates on each other’s privacy preferences. Be firm but courteous. Which of your stuff can your roommate freely rummage through, and which of your stuff is off limits?
Which times of the day do you need silence in order to study?
If you weren’t home, would you be comfortable with letting your roommate’s guest sleep on your mattress bed? Answering these questions can prevent a lot of friction, paving the way for an anxiety-free relationship with whomever you’re sharing your dorm room with.
Create Dedicated Spaces
Assess the available space in your room and create dedicated spaces. This will allow you to psychologically associate these spaces with whatever their assigned purpose is, making it easier to get into the mindset of doing the particular activity associated with that space. For instance, associate your bed only with restful and relaxing activities like sleeping, napping, and sex.
Don’t study while lying in bed – this will associate your bed with academic requirements, possibly being a cause of anxiety and insomnia. Every time you feel like getting into bed while buried in a book, resist the temptation and stay on your study table. The less your bed is associated with stressful activities, and the more it’s associated with relaxation, the better.
You can use huge curtains to physically divide the space of your bedroom, or to just surround your bed while you sleep. Either way, it gives you two things: a greater sense of privacy, and less to zero light when you’re trying to sleep.
A bit of privacy can be valuable for any insomniac. Having a sense of privacy also provides a very real sense of security. With a curtain covering you as you sleep, you can sleep however you want to without fear of scrutiny from your roommate or anyone else who happens to go inside your room. This can give you some much-needed comfort while trying to sleep in an unfamiliar place.
Additionally, if you use light-blocking curtains, you can fall asleep with minimal interruption from any light. The effects of light at night aren’t just psychological. There is enough scientific evidence to pinpoint exposure to light during nighttime as a possible cause of chronic insomnia. Cut out light before bedtime and you can let your body produce melatonin without interference. This will make it easier for your circadian rhythms to slowly rock you to a deep and blissful slumber.
If Peter Mutuc isn’t sculpting, writing, editing, drawing, skating, cycling, wrestling with his Labrador, or actively regulating his sleeping patterns through at least 150 minutes of weekly exercise, he’s usually just online, creating and developing web content for One Bed Mattress.