Setting up Patterns for Sleep Success


Patterns. Sleep is all about patterns – we do it every single night, and our ability to sleep relies on the patterns we create with our daily lives. What else do you do every day that you could shift to help your sleep become a more regular pattern?

  • Exercise routine: A tired body usually means a tired mind. Make it a goal to move your body every single day.
  • Meditation: The main requirement of meditation? Focusing your thoughts – either on your breath or a mantra, something simple, like “I will be more mindful.” Beyond that – the where and the how long and pretty much everything else is up to you. Even a few minutes a day can help. Schedule it in – perhaps first thing when you wake up and right before you fall asleep. You can even meditate in your bed – that’s absolutely allowed.
  • Eat a variety of nutrient dense, processed-as-little-as-possible foods. These are less likely to have caffeine nor high amounts of sugar and are more likely to nourish your body the way it needs.
  • Create a routine of when you go to bed and wake up. College makes this difficult, but really – we all could use more regular sleep and wake times. Ideally this includes weekends as well. Is there a wake time you could imagine working for your weekdays and weekends? Try it out for a week and see how it goes.
  • Create a sleep sanctuary. What’s your bedroom like? Cool it down at night, try to keep it quiet (now’s a great time to try earplugs and white noise at night if you have loud roommates), keep it dark (a sleep mask or blackout curtains might help!). Do anything you can to make your bedroom a place of relaxation and relief from the stress of the outside world.

What do you do right before you try to fall asleep?

  • Screen use just before bed: consider installing a filter to add red to the visual. Research has shown that blue lights of screens can mess with our brains, where the red filter helps our brain think of sunsets and sleep.  Or consider keeping all screens out of your bedroom. Make your room a space reserved for sleep.
  • Exercise just before bed: consider doing more flow yoga or a chill walk just before bed and scheduling your hardcore cardio and lifting to earlier in the day or early evening. But – your bigger priority should be to get exercise at some time each day. Movement helps our bodies be tired and ready to sleep.
  • Good options before bedtime: book reading, meditation, writing down things from the day that are running through your brain so you don’t have to think about them anymore, really any sleep routine. A good example of a sleep routine? Take a warm shower, put on pajamas, brush your teeth, read a chapter of a good novel, earplugs in, sleep mask on, nightymcnightpants.

After you have put in some effort into sleep hygiene (that’s a real term describing steps like those above), and you’re still having trouble, come see a provider at Campus Health. Some providers may recommend further changes to sleep hygiene, medication, or the use of a phone app (CBT-i Coach on Play and iTunes), which can be used alone and in conjunction with a medical provider to improve your sleep. Make an appointment at CHS to learn more.


Photo credit: Gabriel Gonzalez, Flickr Creative Commons

Wellness/Health Messaging Graphic Design Intern Wanted!

Student Wellness and Campus Health Services at UNC Chapel Hill is currently seeking one undergraduate paid, part-time, temporary Wellness/Health Messaging Graphic Design Intern.

The Wellness/Health Messaging Graphic Design Intern will develop and design marketing/advertising materials to promote pertinent health and wellness information for Student Wellness, with some overlap with Campus Health Services.  This position requires creativity, critical thinking skills, and the ability to work independently.

The Wellness/Health Messaging Graphic Design Intern is expected to work 10 hours per week and hoping this person will start no later than October 1. We will be accepting applications on a rolling basis until the position has been filled.

In order to apply, please submit a single PDF document including a letter of interest outlining specific examples related to position requirements, a current resume, and the names and contact information for three current references to Caress Roach at Application deadline is 9/23/15.

Wellness/Health Messaging Graphic Design Intern Job Description

Survive? Thrive.

I had a conversation this summer with a friend (who happens to be employed at CHS) about her epic summer adventure. One of the things she said she learned on her trip was that she could survive anywhere. I thought about her comment along with the parts of her trip she had already shared, and corrected her. “No,” I said, “you learned you could thrive anywhere.”

Thus, the “thrive” concept was born.

Students at campuses across the country often struggle to survive – to keep their sanity with all the stressors of college life. I could list those stressors here, but you probably already know college student stressors. That’s not what we want to focus on anyway. We are shifting from avoiding negative outcomes towards attaining positive outcomes.

Motivation that comes from trying to avoid (stressors or weight gain or illness) cannot be as strong as motivation that arises from trying to gain. That’s because if someone is successful at avoiding, they don’t get anything. They can’t see their success because their goal was the absence of something. If I stay healthy because I don’t want to get cancer – and I’m successful – how will I know? I won’t have cancer – but my success will really be seen in all the positive benefits of being healthy.  So why not focus on that from the beginning?

Focus on gaining something. Focus on a tangible benefit. Focus on thriving.

For those of you who write S.M.A.R.T. goals, “thrive” isn’t going to help you much. It doesn’t say what thriving looks like, nor how to get there.

That’s where we become partners in your success. You know what you want and need to change in your life. We know a lot about what’s been proven to help college students thrive. We’re going to share that info with you in new and innovative ways.  Then you can pick and choose what of those topics fits with your needs and goals.

We’ll be posting articles on this blog, on our website, facebook page, and twitter that are all targeted towards helping you thrive.

Topics range from financial management to sustaining the environment to staying physically active. Everything that CHS offers this year – services, marketing materials, health information, and more –will be centered around the goal of helping  you thrive.

Move beyond surviving the rest of this semester – the rest of this year. Thrive instead. Make this year the year where you…