Students love and crave sleep. When we asked you what you’d love to be doing right now, sleeping ranked third—behind only spending more time with friends and participating in your favorite hobbies. In a recent survey by Student Health 101, 85 percent of high school students said they “look forward to and really enjoy” their sleep.
And no wonder. Every time we sleep, we’re taking a luxury mini vacation. “Each night, we leave ourselves and enter a dreamworld. What a gift to spend a third of our lives in rejuvenation,” says Alyssa Rocco, a graphic artist based in Massachusetts (quoted online).
Here are four ways to honor your sleep and remember how good it is.
1. Make your bed every day
Think of your bed as a gift to yourself. You’ll peel back the duvet and blankets (unwrap the gift) before you turn in. Making our bed daily gives us a sense of control and is a surprisingly effective happiness fix, according to Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project.
2. Reframe your thinking
“Sleep isn’t something we have to do; it’s something we get to do. It’s a luxury. We do it because it feels good, not because we’re afraid of consequences,” Heather Turgeon, a psychotherapist, told the New York Times. In our survey, 73 percent of high school students described sleep as “one of life’s greatest pleasures.”
“I like the idea that I can go to bed feeling terrible and when I wake up, I can feel completely rejuvenated.”
—Sydney, senior, Ballwin, Missouri
3. Think “don’t,” not “can’t”
Here’s a mind trick that helps with desirable behaviors, like relishing bedtime: Frame your self-talk so it’s empowering rather than punishing. For example:
- “I don’t use gadgets after 10 p.m.”
- “I don’t stay up after 11 p.m.”
- “I don’t deny myself sleep.”
When we remind ourselves “I don’t,” we’re more successful than when we tell ourselves “I can’t,” studies show.
4. Pamper yourself
- Changing the sheets: Fresh sheets mean better sleep, said 7 out of 10 people in a National Sleep Foundation survey. In our survey, only 5 percent of students said they change their sheets weekly.
- Lavender: It’s relaxing. Drop some aromatherapy oil on your pillowcase. (You can find it online.)
- Memory foam pillows: They conform to the curves of your neck, head, and shoulders.
Which sleepy moments do you relish the most?
“I like to dream and I enjoy the simple sensation of getting rest after a hard day.”
—Paige, sophomore, Parsons, Kansas
“It recharges me and prepares me to excel the next day.”
—Caden, junior, Lincoln City, Oregon
“It’s where I can go to simply relax and wake up feeling refreshed.”
—Alex, junior, Boston, Massachusetts
Source: Student Health 101 survey
Historical and cultural perspectives of sleep. (2008, January 2). Healthy Sleep, Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard University. Retrieved from https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/history
National Sleep Foundation. (2014). Inside your bedroom. Retrieved from https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/
National Sleep Foundation. (2014). Touch. Retrieved from https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/touch.php
Patrick, V. M., & Hagtvedt, H. (2012). Empowerment refusal motivates goal-directed behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(2), 371–381.
Rubin, G. (2009, August 28). Make your bed. The Happiness Project. Retrieved from https://www.gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2009/08/make-your-bed/
Sleep and pleasure. (2013, September 5). SleepCultures.com. Retrieved from https://www.sleepcultures.com/news-and-notes/sleep-and-pleasure
Student Health 101 survey, November 2016.