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As young adults, we’re expected to keep up with so many different aspects of life that the importance of sleep can slip off our radars. For me, it was a struggle to balance college classes, homework, friends, a part-time job, and extracurriculars. That’s not to mention the added stress of living away from “home” for the first time. Now, I’m out of college, and achieving good sleep is something that comes and goes. However, the more I prioritize it, the better I feel. 

According to, our sleep patterns and mental health go hand-in-hand. 

We can use this knowledge to improve our mental health by exploring options for getting better sleep. 

Many sources suggest creating a bedtime routine. Performing the same actions for the same purpose each day will train your body to prepare for sleep. Some people brush their teeth, meditate, or put their phones away, but you can really make your routine your own! Mayo Clinic offers plenty of suggestions,  but all that really matters is that your routine helps your mind and body relax.

Some parts of sleep are out of our control, like having ridiculously loud neighbors. I’ve been there, just know that your situation is temporary. For the sake of learning how to achieve good sleep, the rest of this article will focus on the things we can control. 

For example, we can choose when to lay down and what time to set our alarms for the next morning. We can also choose how to spend our time directly before going to bed. Practicing time management and prioritizing self-care are the hardest parts for me when it comes to achieving good sleep, but building a bedtime routine requires both of those. How are you supposed to complete a bedtime routine if you wait to do it until you’re so tired that you could fall asleep standing up? It doesn’t work! 

It’s best to set a boundary with yourself by choosing a time to start your routine. Give yourself 30-60 minutes before you want to fall asleep if you’re able to. This will help condition your mind and body. As far as choosing a time, the Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health recommends that you allow yourself 7-8 hours of sleep each night. However, every person is different. I recommend trying the 7-8 hour range to start and then making adjustments for yourself as needed. 

As young adults, we don’t have anybody to enforce our routine, so in order to stay consistent with it, self-care has to be at the top of our priorities list. When you’re not used to taking care of yourself, it can feel natural to push yourself past your limits to complete an assignment or hang out with friends. While it’s tempting to compromise sleep, you’ll do better work and have more fun when you’re well-rested! Keep that in mind as you bring self-care to the top of the list. You’re important! Please remember that any new thing requires practice, so treat yourself with patience and compassion while you’re figuring out your new routine. You’ve got this!

Works Cited:

“6 Steps to Better Sleep.” Mayo Clinic, Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 7 May 2022,

“Get Enough Sleep.” Get Enough Sleep – MyHealthfinder, Office of the Assistant Secretary for Health,

“Mental Health and Sleep.” Sleep Foundation, 16 Nov. 2023,


  • drywall

    It’s refreshing to hear someone else navigating the challenges of balancing life’s demands and prioritizing sleep.

    Posted on

  • tunnel rush

    The link between sleep patterns and mental health is something that often gets overlooked, so it’s fantastic to see it highlighted here. I’ve found that when I prioritize good sleep, my overall well-being improves significantly. It’s a reminder to make sleep a priority and explore ways to improve our sleep habits.

    Posted on