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How to Get Better Sleep in a Dorm: A Quick Guide

DormEssentials November 26, 2020
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College dorms turn into a safe haven for students who stay on busy schedules of social and academic life weeks in and out. It can be quite a challenge to get good sleep when you’re trying to keep up with the fast-paced classes and score all A’sOn top of it, dorms aren’t exactly quiet. Even during the night, students keep the dorm rooms alive with chats, discussions, and school work. It’s highly likely that your roommates will keep the light on even at odd hours. Catching up on sleep may feel like a distant dream. But it’s not impossible. We have some tips on how to get better sleep in a dorm. Here is our quick guide to find out some secrets for better sleep in a dorm.

Create a Comfortable Space  

Dorm rooms are not the most welcoming at first. It takes some work to turn it into your comfort zone. Getting a peaceful sleep may be especially difficult when you move into a new room with a stranger. The already tiny room is likely to feel overcrowded. Want to turn it into a relaxing space for yourself? You could begin by choosing a color scheme for your corner of the room. For you, your dorm room should be the coziest place on campus. How’s that going to happen? Well, you’re going to have to make a few changes in order to create the perfect sleep sanctuary for yourself. Bring in a comfortable bed. The school is going to provide a mattress, yes sure. But it’s likely to be of mediocre quality. You can top your mattress with a mattress topper to enhance comfort.

Personalize the colors and walls

You may opt for a soft and cool palette for your square footage. Bright colors can bring a fun and funky touch to your room. Perhaps you’d enjoy the pleasure of muted tones. Anything that helps you turn the boring white walls into an interesting yet peaceful tapestry. If you aren’t allowed to actually paint the dorm, which is common, you may also hang a few art pieces and posters that you find enjoyable to look at. 

Prevent Damage to Your Mattress

Moreover, to address how to get better sleep in a dorm, prevent damage to the mattress you can use a mattress protector. They come at a reasonable price and increase the durability of your mattress. 

Pristine white sheets on top of the mattress can work wonders when it comes to good sleep. Use a cooling mat if you don’t want to wake up soaked in sweat. In winter, you may use extra blankets or duvets. 

Use Pillows

Consider throwing a few pillows on your bed as well. Nothing speaks more of home than some throw pillows. Choose pillows that are soft and compressible. After a hectic day at school, you want the perfect neck and back support. Your pillow should be able to support proper sleeping posture and encourage the right spinal alignment.

Soft Sheets

If you go to school in a warm region, you may want to pick up sheets that are soft and breathable. Sheets are a critical consideration for setting the right sleeping space in your dorm. Choose materials that will not invite any skin irritation. 

Now that you have a cozy bed, fight the natural urge to work on it. We know, it’s very tempting to do your homework in bed. But it can soon prove to be counterproductive. Associate your bed with rest and sleep only, and not with work. Thank us later.

Manage the Temperature and Air Quality

There are a number of electronics at your disposal to help manage your dorms temperature and air quality so that you can sleep comfortably. From dorm heaters and dorm fans for climate control, to humidifiers and air purifiers to get the air where you want it, fighting the elements should not be a nightly routine.

Control lighting in your dorm

Since you’re sharing your room with fellow college students, it is likely that your sleep schedule may not match. It will be important to talk and agree on quiet/dark hours. You’ll each have different schedules based on your classes, assignments, tests, and all that. So, it is always a good idea to have a secondary source of lighting in your room, like a desk lamp, in case one of you wants to stay up while the other goes to bed. 

Turn off the Main Room Light at a Set Time!

Fluorescent lights can prove to be an enemy to your sleep. But what’s there to do if your roommate needs to stay up and get some work done? That’s when secondary light comes in. You can keep a set of string lights or table lamps for when someone needs to stay up late. This way, you can turn off the overhead lights and go to sleep. It’s a good day for everyone!

Limit Outdoor Light 

You will have a hard time falling asleep if your room is constantly flooded with outdoor lights. It may be an issue even when you shut off the curtains. This can be particularly problematic for light sleepers and people who need complete darkness to drift off to sleep. Both sunlight and artificial light may affect your sleep. Cover your dorm room windows with blackout curtains to minimize outdoor lights from entering your room.

Use Dark Sheets

If you’re on a budget, you may hang some dark sheets on your window to block outdoor light. While it won’t be perfect, you can make do with it. You can top it with the comfort of an eye mask to block any light exposure as you sleep. 

Communicate with Your Roommates 

Since you’ll be sharing your room with someone else, it is essential that you have a good understanding among yourselves. Naturally, the presence of another person will have an impact on your sleep environment. As a result, it is vital that you communicate with each other in terms of what your needs and expectations are. Even if your sleep schedules don’t align, you must work out a way to let the other get some uninterrupted rest whenever they need it. 

Limit the Visitors

Make sure that you’re on the same page in terms of overnight visitors, decorating the room and arranging furniture, quiet hours, playing music on speaker, and all things of the sort.

Speak Up!

Be honest and try to understand what your roommate is trying to tell you. Listen and communicate openly. This is the only way to create a peaceful environment within your dorm room, and a home outside home. Agree to the best sleep conditions and time for you both.

Get Off Your Phone

Phone, laptop and tablets can work as a major distraction as you’re trying to get some sleep. They emit a kind of blue light that can completely ruin your sleep-wake cycle. As you stay hooked to the screen and carry the habit to bed, you’ll have a harder time falling asleep on time. Forget about restful sleep. We can give a ton of reasons why you should stay off the phone as you’re trying to get some sleep. How to get better sleep in a dorm? Yes, you might need to check your phone and social media before you call it a day.

Limit the Screen Time

But limit the screen time as you approach bedtime. Remember that phones are designed to keep us psychologically engaged. So if you’re trying to relax, you need to keep off the distraction.

The Blue Light Harms

Moreover, as we mentioned earlier, the blue light from the screen has the power to suppress melatonin – the hormone that regulates your sleep cycle. Not only that but it is also bad for your vision. Exposure to this light can impact your sleep schedule and your overall body clock. You’ll remain alert at odd hours and experience sleepiness during the day.

Don’t Keep it Under Your Pillow

When we say get off your phone before bedtime, we don’t mean keep it under your pillow. The alerting properties in your phone that are designed to notify you of any social media activity can ruin REM sleep. Late-night social media sessions give rise to uncalled-for emotions and stimulate your brain to keep you awake for longer than you’d expected.

Who needs that? Keep your phone on top of your desk or in the drawer. If you’re afraid of missing important calls, you may keep the phone on your bedside shelf. But not on your bed, to remove temptation. 

Add a Subtle Fragrance 

Besides the comfortable sleep setting in your room, subtle fragrance has a major role to play. It helps you to relax and de-stress after a long day of running from lecture to lecture. Whether you light a scented candle, use air freshener, or a diffuser – subtle fragrance has the potential to drive you to a good night’s sleep. 

Use Lavender

Studies have shown that lavender can help you battle insomnia and get prominent sleep at night. Not only has that but the scent also boosted concentration when you’re trying to get some work done during bedtime.

You can also use essential oils to add a subtle fragrance to your dorm room. It works as a therapy for people who struggle with getting proper rest. You can use a diffuser. The process is quite straightforward as well. Simply add a few drops to water and activate the diffuser. And voila, you’re all set to snooze. 

Scented Candles

Another simple way to set the right mood in your room is to light some scented candles. Pick a clean-burning candle that’s made of all-natural ingredients for achieving the best results. Remember to use a candle warmer or candle alternative, and not lighting the candle directly.

And if you’re planning on decorating your room with botanicals, choose plants that offer soothing fragrance. Rose brings a delicate scent to your room that will prepare a cozy dorm room corner for you. You can also go for peppermint or lavender.

Keep Your Corner Organized 

This is an obvious step and something your mom must have told you a thousand times – clean your room. Not just because it makes your room sparkle but also because it will help you get better sleep in a dorm. We realize that it may seem like a lot of room, especially when you’re running late for a morning class. But trust us. A tidy room can largely impact good sleep. A cluttered corner can keep you up late at night, even when you’re super tired. It can be anxiety-inducing. Since you have limited space in your dorm – perhaps just a corner, keep things that contribute to good rest, even if that means you’d have to de-clutter every once in a while. A cleaning schedule can help, along with the right dorm storage essentials.

Make the Bed

Make your bed as soon as you get up. While it can feel like a challenge in the morning, think of the reward that awaits you at night. Sliding into a clean bed can immediately take you to a better place and soon drift you to good sleep. Making your bed would also mean keeping your clothes out of bed – clean or dirty. College students have a habit of tossing their clothes in the bed and pick something up from the pile anytime they walk out. But this can stand in the way of proper sleep. Instead, try to fold and keep your clothes neatly in your closet if you’re trying to get some rest in your dorm room. Not only bed but keep your nightstand (if you have any) and desk clutter-free. Organize your belongings in the desk drawer and avoid creating a mess. You’ll be better able to relax and ease up in your space. 

Avoid Too Much Caffeine 

Sleeping problems often begin due to the consumption of too much caffeine. College students often have their schedules packed with assignments and tests. To be at the top of their game, students often make the mistake of putting too much caffeine into their system. This can be counterproductive. Caffeine is among the most popular drugs in the world. The stimulant helps you stay alert during the day, sure. But its impact lasts way beyond that. Moderate consumption of caffeine is alright if you have a paper due or need to work for a test. But make sure not to abuse it. 

Fix Your Routine

Occasional consumption of caffeine in small quantities is alright. If you’re out with friends, don’t keep yourself from indulging in a cup of hot cappuccino or a chocolate cake. But don’t push your limit. Avoid being chemically dependent on caffeine. If you must have a cup of coffee in order to start your day – you might want to rethink your routine.  Not just sleeping problems but excessive caffeine consumption can cause high blood pressure in highly stressed or older college students. It’s best to steer clear of caffeine if you have a family history of heart problems, high blood pressure, and diabetes. 

Substance Use and Abuse 

It’s not uncommon that college students have a problem of excessive alcohol consumption. Many students take alcohol to relax and have fun after a long week. While it may seem paradoxical – I mean, the whole point of the article is to help you get better sleep, alcohol can have a negative impact on your overall sleep cycle.

Avoid Pulling an All-Nighter – or At Least, Try!

It may make sense to pull an all-nighter when you have a ton of work to do and need to meet deadlines. However, we suggest you steer clear of pulling an all-nighter. Unless absolutely necessary. 

While it may be enticing to hang out with friends a little longer and later sacrifice sleep to get some work done, this habit can prove to be very harmful to your body clock. You’ll soon realize that you’re having a hard time falling asleep in the dorm. Note that staying up late may get your task at hand done, but you will lose a bit of your productivity with every passing night. You’ll soon realize that you’re working for longer hours but producing less output. That’s why getting proper sleep is so vital. 

If you want to keep away from this trap named “pulling an all-nighter”, you must plan ahead and prioritize your task at hand. Review all the tasks and classes to understand how you need to proceed with your workload. Set a routine for your weekdays and adhere to it. If you follow a personal schedule, not only will it improve your sleep schedule but your overall output generation will enhance by manifold. You can also avoid any last-minute rush with your submissions and get things done nicely.  

Maintain Proper Sleep Hygiene Techniques 

Maintaining proper sleep hygiene techniques may make all the difference between a good night’s sleep and tossing and turning throughout the night. Try to practice going to bed and waking up at a specific time daily. This will not only help your sleep better but keep you active throughout the day.

How to get better sleep in a dorm? You may also practice yoga or enjoy a cup of chamomile tea before going to bed. Perhaps you enjoy reading a few pages of your favorite novel before you turn the lights off. 

Use Bedtime Accessories

If you feel the need, you may also embrace bedtime accessories. A lot of students find comfort in using eye masks and earplugs to catch a good night’s sleep. You may also drift off by putting on some white music on your earphones. In that case, be sure to pick high-quality, noise-canceling headphones that will help you get some rest.

Avoid sleeping at odd hours. Excessive daytime sleepiness may ruin your productivity. It may even be a warning sign for depression or stress. Don’t hesitate to take help from your school counselor in such a case. 

Bring in Some Plants 

Having plants in your dorm room can largely benefit your sleep routine. While this may seem like an unusual tip, it is among the most effective ones. Fragrant plants, in particular, promote a healthy sleep cycle. You may consider bringing a jasmine plant, or lavender. While these may be harder to maintain, simple succulents are easier to care for as well. Their fragrance will calm your nerves and allow you peaceful rest every night. Adding plants in your room adds value to the general aesthetics as well. You can opt for a bohemian chic look for your room. Botanicals are among the most beautiful elements for such decor. 

Plants are Good for Health

Moreover, plants have the power to lower your blood pressure, promote a positive mood among your roommates, and simply add to the aura of the room. Some plants are known to absorb toxins from the air. And if you’re trying to benefit from the additional oxygen in your room, you can keep the plants closer to your bedroom. If you have a window by your bed, you can use the windowsill as a base for your botanicals. No better place than the windowsill as it has better exposure to light during the day. Water the plant regularly. Since you’ll be busy with school-schedule try to get a plant that does not require heavy maintenance. 

Follow a Night-time Skin Care Routine 

A nightly beauty routine can prepare you for bedtime. With time your body will learn to associate the routine with bedtime and make falling asleep in the dorm much easier. Not only that but this routine has multiple benefits. 

Make Time for Self-care

You can wipe away the dirt and tiredness of the entire day off your skin as you sit for some self-care time. This is an ideal way to clean your face and remove any makeup that you had put during the day. Make sure to half-ass the routine but commit to it right. Sleeping with dirt and makeup on your skin will damage your skin and eventually result in untimely signs of aging.

Use Products that Have Oxidants

Now you see, college may be a stressful time. And it shows in your skin as signs of aging begin to appear out of nowhere. Following a decent skincare routine, every night will help you take care of the issue and prevent it. To serve the purpose, you may use products that are rich in oxidants.

Moreover, beauty products that are a blend of essential oils and retinol may prove to be very helpful to retain the natural glow of your skin. Not only that but they are also equipped to battle against spots and acne. Besides helping you get proper rest, the nightly routine will help you wake up with healthy-looking fresh skin. 

Embrace the Power of White Noise Machines

There’s still a place for white noise machines in this world. Whether you live with someone in the next room or a college dorm, you can use the white noise to cancel any annoying noises. White noises create enough frequency to block background noises. You can concentrate on the white noise machine and gradually fall asleep. If you’re not too fond of white noise machines, you can try out pink noises or natural noises too. Some machines come with all sorts of different sound settings. You can even play music on a few of them.

The natural noises include the sounds of waterfalls, rain, ocean waves, or even birds chirping. Fan noise is also a very common white noise. Just don’t let your annoying roommate find out that you’re using it because of them. Just make sure you get agreement from your roommate, if you have one.

Decorate with Acoustic or Fabric Panels

You might have seen reviewers or YouTubers use pointy foam panels on their walls. At first glance, they look like just another part of their setup décor. But they use these panels to block out sounds and prevent echoes. With a little thoughtful planning, you can strategically reduce the sound your roommate makes significantly. 

If you choose to go with fabric, you can layer your door up with them. If you’re concerned about aesthetics, make sure to select a fabric texture that goes well with your room’s theme. You can get these heavy fabrics in multiple designs. So whether you plan to go minimal or flashy depends on you.

Identify and Manage Stress

There are a number of competing items for your time in college, from friendships and relationships to academics and work obligations. Managing time is already tough, and the added stress of finals only makes it even more tough. Make sure you have a manageable amount of course load, and keep an eye on the drop date so you know when you need to make a decision. Everyone has different responsibilities and pace, so work at one that lets you be successful and healthy. There are a number of things that can help you feel empowered to manage stress, which we list here.

Try Out Mobile Apps

You can find hundreds of apps nowadays that help you go to sleep, such as Calm. You can find most of them for both Android and iOS. Most of them are free to install and are pretty significant too. You can unlock a couple of premium features too, if you pay a certain amount.

What these apps do is try to imitate the white/pink noise machines. Although they can’t give you all the features of noise machines, some of them do quite well with the replication. You can choose natural noises too. Some apps have tons of ASMR noises to help you fall asleep too. 

The only bad part about this solution is that you have to keep your headphones on the entire time. Things can quickly get quite uncomfortable when you’re trying to move to the side or roll over with your headphones on. 

Good Old Earplugs

If all else fails or you’re not willing to invest in them, a pair of traditional earplugs will get the job done. You’ve probably used these when you’re on a plane to cancel out the engine noise. Likewise, you can significantly reduce the noise your roommate makes by using earplugs.

You can get tons of earplugs that are comfortable to put on. Some of the cheaper options might not be too great for using for a more extended period. So pick out something that has higher ratings. Just make sure that you can sleep in any position without them falling off in the middle of the night.

Conclusion 

At the end of the day, it all comes down to developing a proper routine and having your body clock follow it. If you work out etiquette with your roommates and maintain a neat sleep setting, it shouldn’t be that difficult. So it’s time to stop wondering how to get better sleep in a dorm and follow a structured routine. We hope you get good rest tonight.


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