Struggling to sleep?- Part 1. Sleep Hygiene

Exams and deadlines are stressful for everyone, but if you have a specific learning difficulty, mental health problem or other disability this stress might get worse as you worry more than usual about your ability to cope. The university puts measures in place (through extra time, rest breaks etc.) to help deal with the impact of any difficulties students might have, but sometimes it’s what goes on at home in-between exams that cause us the most problems. Getting a good night’s rest is important for consolidating memory and keeping your mood stable, so when it’s just not happening it can be really frustrating and upsetting. This is the first blog post in a series- the following apps and tips will hopefully go some way to help.

Who might this blog post be useful for?: Anyone who struggles with sleep throughout the academic year, students with mental health problems or anyone who experiences stress which impacts on their sleep.

What study skills challenges can this app help you overcome?: Difficulty sleeping, relaxing or de-stressing, which can affect concentration and motivation.

What is the tool or study skills strategy?: Relaxation apps, boring podcasts and advice on sleep hygiene.

For a quick visual introduction to sleep hygiene by the University Counselling service please watch the following video:

One note to add would be that in the video it mentions not working in your bed but going to the library. In addition to the obvious problems with finding a study space in the library in exam season, for a lot of disabled students that might be very difficult even when space is available. This could be because of either sensory issues, anxiety, physical accessibility or a myriad of other reasons.

If this is the case for you, try to set up a study space in your home that is not your bed. For example I now work solely at home, but I make sure that I make my bed when I get out of it and sit at my desk to work so I still reserve my bed for sleeping. Sometimes my friends and flatmates also like to work on our sitting room table or in the garden, as long as it’s not in bed! If you have a physical disability or chronic fatigue/pain disorder and find that studying in certain positions worsens your condition, it is worth contacting your DDSS advisor or DSA needs assessor about adjustments that can help.

In addition, the library has many measures in place for students with additional support requirements. To find out about accessible study spaces, scroll down on the hyperlinked webpage and select ‘specialist study facilities’. You can book accessible rooms with adjustable desks and assistive technology, for independent study by contacting your disability advisor to be put on the list.

If you are using a networked computer on campus and want to use assistive technology, don’t forget that you can download software like Inspiration and Mindview from the software centre. You can also pick up an AT memory stick from DDSS, which contains a free set of basic tools that you can keep with you on the go. This includes screen tinting software, a screen ruler, plus a screen reader.

If you choose not to study at the library, but you either aren’t eligible for a DSA laptop or yours is broken you can loan laptops from the library to take home- I have done this in the past when my old laptop broke and I was waiting for the DSA process to go through before I could get a new one. Claro and Mind View is available on these loan laptops. Contact your Disability Adviser for more information on loan laptops.

Thanks for reading,

Rachel