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trouble sleeping at college

hawaii123hawaii123 Registered User Posts: 2 New Member
edited October 2008 in Parent Cafe
I'm a student, but I thought I might get more help here...
I've been at college for a couple of weeks and haven't slept through the night once since I got here. I think I'm just too light a sleeper for college. My dorm is in a central part of campus and right by a bunch of the frats. Even with the windows shut and curtains drawn, I can hear people yelling outside until 3 in the morning, and trucks and motorcycles going by. My roommates make reasonable efforts to be quiet, but even typing and quiet talking in the other room keeps me awake. One roommate has class 2 hours earlier than me, and no matter how quickly she turns off her alarm, it wakes me up enough that I can't go back to sleep. Earplugs didn't help much, listening to calm music with headphones until I'm almost asleep helps somewhat but not enough. I like my roommates and my floor and don't really want to switch dorms, if it's even possible, but I'm half asleep in class and can't function without a nap in the afternoon. Any ideas for either blocking the noise or learning to sleep through it? Thanks.
Post edited by hawaii123 on

Replies to: trouble sleeping at college

  • fendrockfendrock Registered User Posts: 3,052 Senior Member
    I really sympathize, I had a terrible time sleeping in college as well.

    Have you tried a white noise machine? Or sleeping different hours?

    I've always been an early to bed, early to rise type, but to try and sleep those hours on a college campus is to fight a losing battle, I'm afraid.

    If you can take naps, I think your best bet is to work that into your schedule. Siestas are a way of life in some countries.
  • oldfortoldfort Registered User Posts: 21,041 Senior Member
    I bought my daughter a Bose noise cancellation earphone ($200-300). She used to have a very noisy next door neighbor last year (phone calls, parties) and she is living in a sorority with 40+ girls right now. She uses the earphone every night and she thinks it really works.
  • Singersmom07Singersmom07 Registered User Posts: 3,879 Senior Member
    As odd as this might sound, also get a sleeping mask. Light can bring you to a state of light sleep that the noise then brings you all the way to awake.

    DD found this to be a really big help with her roommate's odd hours. She did pair it with the ear plugs and ipod music. In the end it was just ok and she is in her own room this year in an apartment. She lives with like-minded sleepers so she can get her sleep which she needs for her health. .
  • Karen CollegesKaren Colleges Registered User Posts: 1,752 Senior Member
    I've thought about the noise cancellation headphones, but wonder if you can still hear an alarm clock or a smoke detector when wearing them?
  • 07DAD07DAD Registered User Posts: 5,169 Senior Member
    S loves his sleep. After sharing a dorm room freshman year, he asked to have a single. I agreed (there was very little monetary difference at his college).

    He uses ear plugs, placed his bed where he got the least overall noise and I got him a blackout curtian for his window. He has rugs on the floor that help sound deaden a little bit.

    At least before winter, he runs several fans for both air circulation and white noise effect.

    My W uses white noise machines (not the head phones) and they do work. You can still hear alarms.
  • ElleneastElleneast Registered User Posts: 1,236 Senior Member
    My daughter also used ear plugs and a fan for the white noise effect.
    It helped. She has gotten me hooked on ear plugs.
  • BunsenBurnerBunsenBurner Registered User Posts: 32,822 Senior Member
    Karen, the noise-cancellation feature reduces the background humming, buzzing, etc., but anything above that level will be heard loud and clear. At our local Bose store there is a specially setup room where shoppers can try out the phones. The earphones are great; one caveat is that you need to change the battery in the phones once in a while.
  • franglishfranglish Registered User Posts: 2,308 Senior Member
    I live in a big, noisy city. I sleep with ear plugs each night. Drug stores sell very nice silicon plugs that are very flexible, quite comfortable, and stay put. They are around $5 for about 6 weeks' worth. I can hear my alarm clock and if someone speaks to me in the night, to wake me up, I can hear that too. But I sleep right through big thunderstorms and the phone ringing. I am a very light sleeper and these do the trick for me.
  • jmmomjmmom Registered User Posts: 9,084 Senior Member
    There are ear plugs and then there are ear plugs. Not sure what type you bought.

    I only needed them at one period in my life when DS, a drummer, liked to practice when we liked to sleep ;). We didn't want to discourage the practicing. So I got these Buy Mack's Pillow Soft Silicone Earplugs Online at drugstore.com. You mold them to your ear, rather than just pop in a supposed one-size-fits-all variety.

    I second the sleep mask idea (even though I'm not sensitive to light when trying to sleep most of the time) and maybe the white noise thing.

    Good luck. I hope that next year you can get a single, as even roommates who get along can be incompatible with sleep vs. study habits.
  • mkm56mkm56 Registered User Posts: 3,062 Senior Member
    My son likes the white noise machine. He is difficult to wake up in am, so he was wary of earplugs too. To go to sleep, he usually used his ipod--sometimes listened to meditation tapes.
  • roshkeroshke Registered User Posts: 3,106 Senior Member
    Melatonin , a natural nutritional supplement, might help. Avoid caffeine in the afternoon and beyond, don't exercise within three hours of bed. Alcohol, although a depressant can disrupt sleep, too, so a good thing to avoid (for more than one reason!), How comfortable is the bed? Maybe invest in one of those great fiberbed or featherbed toppers. I've also heard that it's not good to nap during the daytime if you are trying to develop good nighttime sleep habits. I agree with all the suggestions as to white noise machine (although your roommates might object to the noise), advanced ear plugs, eye masks etc. S has those Bose noise cancel earphones - not sure they'd be comfortable to sleep in, though they are good for studying in the room etc. It's also possible that the stress (even if you think of it as good stress) of being away at college for the first time is leading to the insomnia.

    A room change, even though it's not your first choice might be something to consider if all else fails. If this is becoming a real issue, going through the appropriate channels and documenting this (maybe through visits to student health) could get you priority on a housing switch if it comes to that. I'd go to student health if the insomnia doesn't resolve itself in any case, just to make sure there are no other reasons for it. I feel for you - having more than one roommate on all different schedules would be a situation that's tough for many people. Good luck.
  • nysmilenysmile Registered User Posts: 5,850 Senior Member
    For the next few days, try hard not to nap during the day. In the evening and after your work is done, try to get into the habit of working out a bit. During the day, take the stairs--skip the elevators. Put the books away and find something fun/relaxing to do about an hour before you're planning on going to bed. The obvious--cut out the chocolate, coca cola, and coffee after lunch.
  • roshkeroshke Registered User Posts: 3,106 Senior Member
    ^^^ There's some difference of opinion as to whether or not it's good to exercise before bed. Some evidence suggests that it helps no matter when you do it, other studies have shown that too close to bedtime interferes with sleep.
  • anothermom2anothermom2 Registered User Posts: 1,753 Senior Member
    I think daily exercise and the right earphones/plugs should help. It helps to be physically tired. My H always says I would sleep through an atomic attack, but really, I think in part, deeper sleeping can be learned. Some people even fall asleep to music or tv as a white noise type thing too.
  • VeryHappyVeryHappy Registered User Posts: 16,872 Senior Member
    All these suggestions are good. My condolences -- not sleeping well can really cause huge stress.
This discussion has been closed.