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Students adore and crave sleep. When we asked hundreds of you what you’d love to be doing right now, sleeping ranked second—behind only “being with someone I love,” and ahead of eating delicious food, having sex, and other pleasures. In a recent survey by SH101, 91 percent of respondents said they “look forward to and relish” their sleep.
And no wonder. Every time we sleep, we’re taking a luxury nano-vacation. “Each night we leave ourselves and enter a dreamworld…What a gift to spend a third of our lives in rejuvenation,” says Alyssa Rocco, a graphic artist based in Massachusetts (quoted online).
Which sleepy moments do you relish the most?
Source: Student Health 101 survey. 920 students answered this question.
Four ways to honor sleep as the hedonistic pleasure that it is:
1 Make your bed every day
Think of your bed as a gift to yourself. You’ll peel back the duvet and blankets (unwrap the gift) before you turn in.
Making our bed daily gives us a sense of control and is a surprisingly effective happiness fix, according to Gretchen Rubin of The Happiness Project.
2 Reframe your thinking
“Sleep isn’t something we have to do; it’s something we get to do. It’s a luxury. We do it because it feels good, not because we’re afraid of consequences,” said Heather Turgeon, a psychotherapist (to the New York Times). In our survey, four out of five respondents (81 percent) described sleep as “one of life’s greatest pleasures.”
3 Think “don’t,” not “can’t”
Here’s a mind trick that helps with desirable behaviors, like relishing bedtime: Frame your self-talk so it’s empowering, not punitive.
- “I don’t use gadgets after 11 p.m.”
- “I don’t stay up after 12:30 a.m.”
- “I don’t deny myself sleep.”
When we remind ourselves “I don’t,” we are more successful than when we tell ourselves “I can’t,” studies show.
4 Pamper yourself
- Changing the sheets: Fresh sheets mean better sleep, said 7 out of 10 people in a National Sleep Foundation survey. In our survey, only 1 in 10 students said they change their sheets weekly.
- Lavender: It’s relaxing. Drop some aromatherapy oil on your pillowcase.
- Memory foam pillows: They conform to the curves of your neck, head, and shoulders.
How do students rank life’s greatest pleasures?
Source: Student Health 101 survey. 800 students answered the question: Which of these would you relish most right now?
Historical and cultural perspectives of sleep. (2008, January 2). Healthy Sleep, Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard University. Retrieved from https://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/history
National Sleep Foundation. (2014). Inside your bedroom. Retrieved from https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/
National Sleep Foundation. (2014). Touch. Retrieved from https://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/touch.php
Patrick, V. M., & Hagtvedt, H. (2012). Empowerment refusal motivates goal-directed behavior. Journal of Consumer Research, 39(2), 371–381.
Rubin, G. (2009, August 28). Make your bed. The Happiness Project. Retrieved from https://www.gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2009/08/make-your-bed/
Sleep and pleasure. (2013, September 5). SleepCultures.com. Retrieved from https://www.sleepcultures.com/news-and-notes/sleep-and-pleasure
Student Health 101 survey, November 2016.