Falling asleep, staying asleep

Stefanie Buhrman

Everyone has those nights. You lie there, tossing and turning, just trying to fall asleep long enough to get through the next day.

We have all heard about crazy remedies like counting sheep, but there are technologies out there that can help people fall asleep easier.

“All that is out there now is white noise machines,” said Marc Shulman, staff physician at Thielen Student Health Center. “It masks other noises and makes it appear to be quieter.”

In addition to eliminating the distraction of awkward noises, comfort is also important to falling asleep easily.

“There is also sleep number beds,” Shulman said. “They just help people who have difficulty finding a comfortable position to sleep.”

Restless sleepers may have a hard time if they use their beds for activities other than sleep.

“Basically, you just need a comfortable spot that is really meant for sleeping,” Shulman said. “In your dorm, don’t study in your bed, just relax.”

Falling asleep is easy for some students, though.

“I am asleep in less than five minutes – guaranteed,” said Craig Christofferson, sophomore in computer engineering. “I’ve got to have some noise to fall asleep to, though.”

Although Christofferson doesn’t have a lot of trouble sleeping, he does have a unique item on his side.

“I’m just an average sleeper,” Christofferson said. “I do have a special pillow. If you are lying on your side, one side helps to keep your neck straight. If you are sleeping on your back, you use the other side. It’s not as thick.”

Some people use tactics to fall asleep, while others just fall asleep through pure exhaustion.

“I usually am up early in the morning and busy during the day,” said Bernice Thommandru, sophomore in genetics. “So I usually stay up really late and I am really tired.”

Even though Thommandru falls asleep without missing a wink, she has had to use remedies in the past.

“I’ve heard to count sheep – I’ve also heard to move your eyes around while your eyelids are closed,” Thommandru said. “I think the second one tends to work.”

Other students have stranger sleeping habits.

“I sleep with my TV on,” said Ashley Hartson, sophomore in marketing. “I like light when I sleep, like from the TV or my computer. Reading also helps me fall asleep.”

Hartson may not always fall asleep in five minutes like Christofferson, but she can fall asleep rather quickly some nights.

“It usually takes me a half-hour to fall asleep,” Hartson said. “If I am exhausted, I fall asleep right away.”

Even Hartson has tried many different remedies to try and fall asleep. So far, her mom has given her the best one – and she said it works.

“My mom always told me, when I couldn’t sleep, to relax each body part one by one,” Hartson said. “You start with your feet, and then by the time you get to your head, you should be asleep.”

Whether you try to fall asleep with some noise or you move your eyes inside your eyelids, the only thing that matters is that you get a good night’s sleep.