10 College Dorm Must-Pack Essentials for Better Zs
June 10, 2017
Looking forward to moving into your dorm and starting your college life? Going independent means you can finally live life the way you want to. But living away from home has its challenges, too. You’ll need to adjust to a new environment, which includes sharing space with strangers and giving up your privacy. And without your family around to care for you, it’s easy to feel homesick and blue.
All these woes may cause you anxiety and sleepless nights that can hurt your academic performance. Various studies have proved that lack of sleep affects a student’s learning ability, memory, and concentration. Thus, the importance of quality sleep in getting better grades can’t be emphasized enough.
When you deprive yourself of sleep, you’ll feel tired and sleepy the next day. You’ll also look cranky and haggard—certainly not a good impression to make when you meet a potential crush. Those dark undereye circles shouldn’t be there when you bump into the campus heartthrob, right?
A college student needs 7 to 9 hours of z’s daily, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Make this your #healthgoal throughout your life as a dormer—and it all starts with creating an ideal environment for healthy sleep in your dorm room.
Here are10 things you need to pack to help you get better sleep in the dorm.
Pillows are great to use both for sleeping at night and your daytime study sessions. But any pillow just won’t do. Pack a set of Uratex Premium pillows that can fully support your head, neck, and shoulders, so you’ll wake up refreshed and ready to face the day ahead.
Memory foam pillows such as the Senso Memory Traditional Pillow make the perfect sleeping buddies, along with a memory foam mattress, as they offer ample support by following the shape of your head. If you’re prone to suffering from stiff neck, the best choice is the Senso Memory Cervical Pillow with a contoured top for neck support.
If you prefer something soft and fluffy, go with a Soft Escape Pillow that will surely help you sleep comfortably with its smooth microfiber cover.
Allergic to air contaminants? Save yourself from sneeze fits with a hygienic FiberSoft Pillow for protection against bacteria, mildew, and dust mites.
2. Mattress topper
Most dorm beds already have foam mattresses, so you don’t have to bring a full-sized mattress. However, the dorm (especially if it’s old) is likely to have a bed mattress that’s either too worn-out or too stiff.
A practical solution? Add a layer of cushion with a comfortable mattress topper. Among the best bed accessories for better sleep, Uratex mattress toppers are designed to follow the body’s contours and allow free airflow. Make sure to get one that fits your dorm bed, which is typically a 36 x 75-inch single bed.
3. Bedding sets
Many dorms are small and hot, so using thick and heavy blankets is a terrible idea, even if your room is air-conditioned. Blankets, pillowcases, and bed sheets made of synthetic materials can cause discomfort because they trap body heat.
What you need for your dorm room is a bedding set made of lightweight and breathable materials such as linen, cotton, or wool that can move heat away from your body. Bring an extra set, so you’ll have a fresh spare to use while the other is in the laundry.
4. Blackout curtains or blinds
Getting a decent shut-eye is difficult with bright streetlights outside your window. Harsh lights ruin sleep/wake cycles by curbing the production of melatonin, the hormone that prepares your body for sleep, according to Dr. Christopher Drake of the Henry Ford Hospital.
For optimizing your sleep cycles, invest in blackout curtains or blinds that block out light and make your room dark enough so that you can easily fall asleep.
5. Eye mask
Keep yourself from being a night owl by wearing an eye mask or sleep mask before you hit the sack. It’s heaven-sent when your roommate pulls an all-nighter and keeps the light switched on.
For ultimate comfort and undisrupted sleep, choose an eye mask that is lightweight, fits snugly around your nose, has a contoured design that provides total light blocking,made of breathable cotton that won’t irritate your skin, and doesn’t touch your eyes.
A National Center for Biotechnology Information study conducted on ICU patients who are always exposed to noise and light found that use of earplugs and eye masks improves sleep quality.
You’re not an ICU patient, but you’ll be exposed to noise in the dorm just the same. For sure, you’ll have roommates who snore, listen to loud music, talk with someone over the phone, or love chatting with you. If you can’t bear with such noise, wear earplugs made of soft foam that can help you have deep slumber while allowing you to hear your alarm in the morning.
7. Electric fan
Whether you’ll stay in a traditional boarding house with a ceiling fan or a condo dorm with an air-conditioner, you’ll never regret bringing your own desk fan or stand fan.
Using an electric fan can help you sleep better in three ways. First, it keeps the room well-ventilated so that you won’t get drenched in sweat. A National Sleep Foundation study found that the brain’s ability to control body temperature stops during REM sleep. At this point, your comfort depends solely on the room temperature—which is why you need a fan to keep your body cool.
Secondly, you need a fan to ensure constant airflow (and cool air circulation if you have an AC unit) in your room.
Lastly, fans create white noise that covers up the sound of cars and tricycles on the street and other unwelcome noise, making you sleep soundly through the night.
If you’re into the habit of checking your social media feeds on your smartphone or laptop before going to bed, you’re just making it hard for yourself to have quality z’s.
Go for a better alternative: cap off your day by reading your favorite romance novel, sci-fi series, magazine, or any print material you enjoy reading. A University of Sussex study discovered that reading lowers stress by as much as 68%, beating other tricks to falling asleep such as drinking hot tea and listening to music.
Devote about 15 to 30 minutes to read daily before bedtime. It will surely take your mind off your worries before you sleep.
Getting through the demands of college life is tough—and the pressure can mess with your sleeping habits if you don’t have an emotional outlet. Sleep expert Dr. Rubin Naiman of the Arizona Center for Integrative Medicine recommends writing about your worries, fears, angsts, and other negative thoughts in a journal before going to bed.
Make time to write in your journal first thing in the morning and before bedtime. Studies have proven that journaling doesn’t just lower stress and anxiety but also wards off sleeping problems.
10. Air-purifying plants
Do you often sneeze before sleeping and right after waking up? It’s hard to sleep in a small space with air pollutants such as bacteria, molds, and pollen. So if you’re allergic to them, consider bringing some houseplants to the dorm.
Air-cleaning plants such as aloe vera absorb air contaminants for an allergy-free night and produce oxygen for better sleep. In fact, aloe vera is one of the best plants for improving indoor air quality, according to a NASA study. Other indoor plants that can help you relax at night include lavender, jasmine, and snake plants.
Living in a dorm takes some time getting used to, but with these 10 must-pack essentials, you can immediately achieve a sleep-friendly atmosphere that will make you feel like you never left home.