How to have a good nights sleep in noisy student accommodation

Trying to get a good quality sleep while at university is definitely a challenging prospect because of noisy neighbours/flat mates and deadlines. Sometimes, even when I think I’m getting enough hours of sleep, the quality of it often isn’t what it is when I’m at home in my comfy double bed. If the main issue is that your flat mates are being loud, earplugs and earphones are essentials! University isn’t the first time that I’ve experienced trouble sleeping either so I’ve compiled some of the things that I’ve tried over the years that might help you.

“ Remember your earphones and earplugs! ”

RITUALS

This may seem like an obvious point to make but ensure that your room is completely dark. I definitely find that if I have dark surroundings, I sleep better.  

At home, I used to take a long hot bubble bath to relax me before bed, particularly on a Sunday night. I always found this night more difficult to be able to sleep on with the thought of a busy week ahead. At university, however, most of us are not blessed with a bath, so instead I find that having a long hot shower and using some nicer products such as shower oils followed by a fresh pair of pyjamas is a good ritual to get my body and mind ready to sleep.

Try to minimise the amount of screen time that you have before you go to sleep. I know that this is incredibly difficult for a lot of us, especially students who often stay up late working. I’ve seen and often been told that we should avoid screens for 2 hours before we go to sleep. Personally, this goal is quite a reach for me but I do think that about an hour is a reasonable time. If your course is anything like mine, there is bound to be some reading that you can do instead of typing. This just helps your eyes naturally relax and to be ready for sleep.

PRODUCTS

I’ve also tried a few products that are supposed to help you sleep. One that I tried after I got a mini-version for free is the ‘This Works Pillow Spray’. This product is basically a scented spray that you can spray on your pillow before going to sleep. It smelled of lavender and quite floral. This did work to an extent as, for me, it was a relaxing scent, but the full size product costs more money than I’d like to spend and so I never repurchased it.

A product that I have really found useful is the ‘Kalms Nighttime’. These are definitely not sleeping pills. They are pills, however, they are completely herbal and don’t have such strong effects as prescribed sleeping pills. You take four about 30-60 minutes before you go to bed. I found these helpful because I suffer with anxiety, and so they just make your mind relax. Instead of my brain working at 100 miles per hour, it just stops you from being able to worry. It’s a really strange sensation, but your brain just seems to relax.

APPS (Invest in some headphones for these!)

This was a recent discovery for me, but there are actually a huge amount of mobile applications designed to help you sleep. My favourite is called ‘Sleep Away’. At first, I found this to be a really odd thing, but it is a free app (offers in-store purchases) with a pre-downloaded, 30-minute therapy session that you just listen to. A lady speaks and gives you breathing activities and things to think about. I’ve listened to this many, many nights and have only reached the end of it maybe one time. The process of diverting your attention from being annoyed at people around you for being annoyed allows your brain to just listen and relax.

Another great app that I have is Audible. This is a more expensive service; I actually got a subscription for Christmas. I find that listening to an audio book while I am going to sleep helps me sleep so much better. It has the same kind of theory to ‘Sleep Away’, but you also get to listen to a book, which is great. Audible isn’t the only place that you can access audiobooks, but it is my favourite service. The cost is £7.99 a month, and with that you get one free book a month and discounts on any additional books.

FOOD/DRINK

If I find that I am struggling to sleep, then I refrain from drinking coffee or energy drinks. I’m actually now completely caffeine free, however, I understand that’s not something every student is willing to do! If you are going through a period of bad sleeping, then avoiding caffeine during the day, or at least the afternoon, will allow you to still be quiet and have less energy when you want to sleep.

My mum has always sworn by the fact that if you cannot get to sleep, or are suffering from jet lag, then you should eat a banana and a glass of warm milk. I don’t know how scientific this is but it does generally work. By having a full stomach, it may be easier for you to drift off, rather than if you are hungry and thinking about food

RULES/LAWS

If surrounding noise is an ongoing issue for where you are living there are actions that you can take. At Cardiff University, during the exam season, you are able to call security if you find that people surrounding you are being unreasonably loud.

If it is an ongoing problem and you live outside of halls, then you may wish to contact the council. For Cardiff Residents, the number to call for noise complaints is: 029 20 871 650. For more details on Noise Pollution, then you can go to this webpage.

I’ve tried many more things than I am able to list, but I have narrowed it down to this list. I do think that if you try a few of these, then you are likely to find one that works for you and you get a better nights sleep because of it. 

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Written by Emma Videan, 11 months ago
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