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Brush Off Your Midterm Woes: It’s World Sleep Day

Tired of reviewing for midterm exams on top of putting in extra hours at your campus job? Well, we have the perfect excuse for you to take that much needed break! Today is World Sleep Day.

Forget waking up or pressing the snooze button, you can dismiss the alarm completely (unless you’re heading off to a graded lecture). Here are our top tips for napping on World Sleep Day.

The power of napping: Improve cognitive processes, alertness and memory

Short naps, often referred to as power naps can amplify your memory and allow you to absorb information faster. Axel Mecklinger’s study published in his journal, Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, observe memory retention rates in two groups of people.

One group watched a film, while the other took a short nap. Afterwards, both groups we asked to complete a learning task. Findings demonstrated that the group who had napped had five times better memory retrieval than the group who had watched the film.

A brief 40 to 60 minutes of sleep is an essential, especially during midterms when it’s likely that students are getting less than the recommended amount of sleep. Brief naps aid with improving motor skills, while longer naps over an hour enable the brain to make new connections and work to enhance your problem-solving skills.

Sleeping in the dark

Blue light reflected by our various digital gadgets—phones, tables, computers and laptops—have been shown to suppress the sleep regulating hormone melatonin. Sleeping in the dark, without any blue light pollution, is an essential way of insuring your sleep is undisturbed.

In a recent study by researchers at the University of Granada, melatonin was been shown to fight obesity and diabetes in rats, leading researchers to stressed sleeping in the dark to prevent obstructions in the body’s creation of this vital neurohormone.

Aromatherapy: Making sleep smell like paradise

If you’re into essential oils, two that are highly recommended for sleep in aromatherapy practice are lavender essential oil and cedar-wood essential oil.

In a study conducted by the University of Southampton testing the sleep patterns of 10 adults, there was a 20 percent improvement in the sleep patterns of adults sleeping in the room with lavender essential oil dispersed in the air, in comparison to the other adults sleeping in the room with the almond oil diffused air.

Other health perks of  diffusing lavender oil in your room include a decrease in anxiety, blood pressure and a more relaxed state of mind.

Cedrol, the key element of cedar-wood essential oil, on the other hand works to produce a gradual sedative effect, helping you fall asleep.

As well rubbing oils onto your wrists and hands before smelling them, essential oils can be dropped into your fragrance diffusers to allow the smell to gently waft into your room and slowly coax your brain into sleeping.

Image courtesy of Flickr

The art of bathing

Although, a quick shower before work or a lecture is usually the most common way of keeping clean, a warm bath with essential oils and massages allow you to achieve that quality ‘me time.’

Lowering your body temperature with a bath an hour before bedtime soothes the body and prepares you for sleep.


See also: Words of Wisdom on International Women’s Day