Texting Linked With Sleep Problems For College Students

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College students, you might want to give your phones a rest for the sake of your sleep.  A small new study from Washington and Lee University researchers shows an association between more texting among college freshmen, and worse sleep.

The findings, published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media Culture, are based on questionnaires answered by 83 first-year undergraduate students. They were asked about the amount of text messages they send and receive each day, as well as their sleep problems, well-being, and academic and social burnout.

The researchers found that the more daily texts, the worse the sleep of the college freshmen.  They also identified an association between texting and psychological well-being, but noted that this association depended on the stress level the students were already facing.

Some potential reasons for the link between texting and sleep are that cell phone message notifications might wake students as they sleep; they may also feel pressure to respond immediately to texts no matter the time of day, researchers said.

Recently, LiveScience reported that sleep texting — when a person text messages in the middle of the night during sleep, with little recollection of it the following morning — is becoming a trend reported by sleep disorder specialists.

Can’t Sleep??  How About:

Lullabies

Soothing music before bedtime can really do the trick. A 2005 study found that older people who listened to 45 minutes of soft tunes before hitting the hay reported a 35 percent improvement in their sleep problems.  As long as the music was soft and slow — around 60 to 80 beats per minute — it can spur physical changes known to promote sleep, like a slower heart rate and breathing.

Warm Milk

It was once thought that a glass of warm milk at bedtime would help send you off to dreamland because of the tryptophan, The New York Times reported, but milk and other protein-rich foods actually block tryptophan’s sleepiness-inducing effects.  However, there might still be a psychological benefit to that warm milk, the Times concluded, calling it “as soothing as a favorite old blanket.”

Counting Sheep

If your goal is to bore yourself to sleep, you might try counting sheep, or counting backwards by multiples of three or any of a number of other counting-related mind-numbers. But a 2002 study found that imagining a more relaxing scene might be more effective.

The study observed 41 people with insomnia over a number of nights and asked them to try a variety of different sleep-inducing techniques, like counting sheep.

Breathing Exercises

Focusing on the breath, whether it’s as part of a pre-bed yoga sequence or just a tuned-in awareness, can also have meditation-like effects in preparing for bed, says Decker, like lowering the heart rate.

Warm Bath

Your body temp dips about two hours before bedtime,  Health magazine reported, a natural change that “triggers our brain for sleep onset”, says Decker. Soaking in a warm bath beforehand boosts your temperature temporarily, but results in a dramatic, rapid cool down after you get out that relaxes you and eases you into sleep.

It’s not necessarily the bath that lulls you to sleep, it’s that resulting cooling of your body temperature, Decker emphasizes. Research shows that people who take a warm bath before bed not only fall asleep more quickly, but also report better quality of sleep, he says.

Alcohol

Many people swear by a drink to unwind at the end of the day, but alcohol before bed can actually disrupt your sleep.  You’ll be more likely to wake up more often in the early-morning hours, wake up and not be to fall back to sleep or have disturbing dreams. “As alcohol is metabolized by the liver, it has a disruptive effect,” says Decker. It takes a few hours to metabolize, he says, so a drink with dinner shouldn’t be a problem, but anything too close to bedtime can be counterproductive.

Get Out Of Bed

It sounds crazy — how will you ever get to sleep if you’re not even in bed?! — but it works, says Decker.   “When a person stays in bed and they can’t sleep, the bedroom can induce a certain level of anxiety,” he says. “We say after 15 or 20 minutes, get out of bed, sit in another part of the house until you feel a little groggy, then go back to sleep,” he says. “Staying in bed can condition you to become anxious in bed.”

source; Huffington Post – Healthy Living

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