How to Sleep Well in College – Even With Night Owl Roommates
By Laura McMullen
Making new friends! Enjoying more freedom! Learning new things! Getting plenty of sleep!
OK, there’s a lot for incoming college students to get excited about, and maybe sleep isn’t too high on the list. But in order to handle these life changes while staying healthy and feeling your best, you’ve got to try to get seven to eight hours of quality sleep most nights. And that may be easier said than done. Between night owl roommates, more social and extracurricular activities, extra studying and loads of freedom to stay up as late as you’d like, sleep may fall to the bottom of your priority list.
It’s not easy to work in regular sleep, but it’s probably more manageable than writing that 10-page term paper or resisting the dining halls’ bottomless ice cream, so we’re sure you can manage. Here’s how to enjoy a well-rested college experience:
Talk openly with your roommate. It’s 3 a.m. You’re trying to sleep, and your roommate is mid-“Game of Thrones” binging. Or he’s fooling around with someone 20 feet from you. Or he’s actually sleeping – and snoring deafeningly. What do you do? One route would be to not say anything for fear of creating an awkward situation, all while becoming grumpy and more sleep deprived, and thus grumpier. Here’s the problem: “Silence is often viewed as consent in roommate situations,” says Harlan Cohen, best-selling author of “The Naked Roommate: And 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College.” “It’s easy to blame your roommate, but it all starts with you.”
Cohen preaches the “uncomfortable rule,” which is a pact between roommates dictating that if either of you feels uncomfortable with something the other roommate is doing, you have to tell him or her within 24 to 48 hours. “If you set that precedent early, you have the freedom to be honest,” he says. And once you speak up, chances are, you’ll find simple solutions. Explain that you have 8 a.m. class, and could he please wear headphones while watching TV after 11? Maybe create a “no hookups while I’m here” rule. Or simply ask if you can flip, wake or throw something at the roommate when he snores.