Uncommon sleeping patterns

Kelsey Henninger

It’s 3:23 a.m., a time when most people who wake up around 7 a.m. daily should be deep in dreamland, but I am wide awake.

I do not stay up all night and sleep all day; I do not sleep. I do, however, take the occasional nap. I lie down with the intention of catching some Zs for at least an hour, but for some reason after 25 minutes, I am up again.

It seems to be the worst on weekdays. I will come home from work around 10 p.m. and do my homework. Around midnight, I am exhausted and I will lie down with the intention of getting a full night’s rest. One of two things will happen: I will sleep for a few hours and then be rested enough to get up and continue working, or I will lie there for hours dozing in and out of sleep until the rude beeping of my alarm wakes me up. On weekends, I’ll sleep until noon if I have nothing to do. I think my mind and body are catching up on the rest I have deprived them throughout the week.

Psychologist Patricia A. Farrell said on a WebMD video that anyone who is running on two to three hours of sleep a night is building up a sleep debt. She says it will catch up with anyone who is not getting enough sleep nightly.

I found some tips to help catch a little shuteye on the nights I would usually be up surfing the Web or flipping through the TV channels.

Your daily routine may be keeping you up through the wee hours of the night. Try not to exercise after 5 p.m., according to WebMD, because exercising gives you energy.

Do not consume alcohol, nicotine or caffeine before bed. Alcohol can leave you restless while nicotine and caffeine can keep you from falling asleep. Try to keep your bedroom as a place where you only sleep. Keep it dark, quiet and comfortable. This is hard for college students because their room may become a place to do their work because of noisy roommates.

I try not to do homework in bed because once I lie down for the night all I’ll think about is what else I could be doing. If you leave your work at your desk, your bed can become more of a symbol of stress-relief and relaxation. Do not go to bed hungry, but an over-full belly can keep you up as well. WebMD’s Web site suggests milk, tuna, halibut, pumpkin, artichokes, avocados, almonds, eggs, bok choy, peaches, walnuts, apricots, oats, asparagus, potatoes, buckwheat and bananas to help put your appetite to bed.

The site also suggests to try focusing on the details and feelings of being in a place of relaxation. Imagine yourself in a peaceful scene. As said in “Happy Gilmore,” “Go to your happy place.” Also, if you can’t sleep, try a quiet and boring activity. I suggest reading a textbook. It’s quiet, and the knowledge retained will help you in your classes.

Kelsey Henninger is a junior magazine journalism major and a columnist for the Daily Kent Stater. She wants to know your tricks for sleeping throughout the night. Contact her at [email protected].