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Sleep problems

Hard time falling asleep? A good night's sleep is one of our basic human needs, but unfortunately not always taken for granted. What can you do if you are struggling with sleep problems?
What is it?

A good night's sleep is one of our basic human needs. While some students need at least eight hours of sleep a night, others need only six hours. Sometimes sleep doesn't work out, tossing and turning, fretting, being too energetic and your thoughts racing in all directions. While last week it was going so well. The next morning you notice that you can't keep your thoughts there, you can't concentrate, listen in lectures and study. Other consequences may be that you are more easily irritated, more irritable, have delayed mental and physical reactions. The severity of these consequences depends on the degree of sleep deprivation. One night of little sleep can be overlooked, but a couple of nights can really affect your daily functioning. And it can be quite troublesome. 

What can you do yourself? 

Taking a nap in the afternoon seems like a good solution. Don't! When you nap in the afternoon, you actually go to bed with less need for sleep. If it really can't be helped, make sure you sleep no longer than an hour, and no later than 3pm. There are also a number of things you can do yourself, to make your sleep as optimal as possible, so-called 'sleep hygiene'. Below we list a few of them:

  • Try to go to bed and get up around the same time every day, that way your system "knows" you are going to sleep: if your sleep cycle has a regular pattern, you will feel better.
  • Do not undertake intense cognitive, emotional and/or physical action before going to sleep, give yourself space to "switch off", to get into relaxation: listen to music, reading is also fine, as long as it is relaxing.
  • No heavy meals just before going to sleep and be careful with alcohol and caffeine.
  • Avoid screens before bed. Put your smartphone away.
  • Make sure it's comfortable, even if your dorm room is so small, open a window, clean duvet, if it's noisy then maybe earplugs are an idea or a sleep mask if the room is too bright.

Also, tension and stress can be quite disruptive to sleep. Put pen and paper next to your bed. Then you can write down any pondering thoughts so that you can think about them again the next day, with a clear head. After all, our brain tends to think in circles in the evening and at night and cannot come up with good new solutions.

Importantly, if the symptoms last too long and you notice that your concentration is getting worse, consult your general practioner.

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Self-learning module

With your Fontys account, you can make free use of online self-help modules (e-health). Check out the modules related to sleep problems below.

Sleep Tight 

We all sleep poorly from time to time, but if you find yourself lying awake night after night, it is time to take action. This module will teach you more about sleep, why you may sometimes struggle to fall asleep and what you can do to improve the quality of your sleep. 

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Contact team Student Guidance 

  • If sleeping problems are affecting your mental well-being, make an appointment with a student psychologist.
  • If sleeping problems are an actual impedement on your study progress, please book an appointment with a student counsellor.