By Sophie Becker
Sleep well & prosper
There’s one vital ingredient you need to smash SCA. And as portfolio day draws closer, that one ingredient becomes increasingly scarce. It’s a bit of a Catch-22 situation.
Sleep. Without ample sleep, our minds don’t function at full capacity. Our creative problem solving skills turn to mush when we’re sleep deprived, yet the workload at SCA persuades so many of us to sacrifice our hours of Zs. Despite Marc’s warnings, it’s all too tempting to work into the early hours of the morning pre-PB or portfolio hand-in.
But even without purposefully giving these all important sleeping hours to SCA, I’ve been experiencing some pretty intense insomnia. There’s just something about the course that stops you from switching off. The stress is a kind of low-burning stress that mounts up throughout the day then unleashes a burst of adrenaline on you as you lie your head on the pillow at night. I’ve found anyway… I’m sure there are those that sleep like a baby no matter what’s going on.
It’s been a horrible few week’s of delirium, sleeping maybe on average 3 hours a night. Although I’ve never been very good at sleeping, and don’t seem to require as much as normal-folk to function at 100%, I’ve never completely been unable to sleep before this year. I sought some advice from the doctor and finally, over the past week, I’ve managed to improve the situation and wow does it feel good to be human again.
So this SCAB is for anyone currently struggling to snooze, or for anyone anticipating a struggle (i.e. next year’s intake). Obviously everyone knows the standard few bits of advice: get exercise, don’t have caffeine after midday, don’t go on your phone or laptop the hour before bed etc. But they’re far easier said than done. Especially when you have limited time, an unlimited workload and a huge need for the energy you don’t have.
I’ve been trying out everything recommended to me by my very lovely doctor. Here are some of the less well-known, but actually effective tactics:
- ‘Put the day to bed’ – Take 10 minutes before bed to write down what happened that day, anything that bothered you, and anything you’re anticipating the next day. Otherwise you’ll just get into bed and be confronted with a weird jumble of frantic thoughts in no particular order. This has been quite therapeutic.
- ‘Only use your bed for sleep’ – This was tricky because my bed takes up every corner of my room so I just sit in Leli’s room now. Not complaining. But if you’re used to watching films or working in bed, then your brain associates your bed as a place to be awake.
- ‘Do a headstand’ – Sounds bizarre but honestly this was the best one for me! Something to do with supplying blood to the glands in the brain that keep negative thoughts under control. Try it.
- ‘Hot shower, cold room’ – Apparently the drop in temperature triggers sleep hormones. My room’s a bit hot for this to work I think.
- ‘Breath through your left nostril’ – My godmother actually recommended this to me. Not sure how much science there is behind this one, but supposedly breathing through only your left nostril activates your parasympathetic nervous system which relaxes you. Worth a go.
- 15 Minute Rule – Don’t lie in your bed awake if you can’t sleep, tempting as it is just to enjoy lying there. This reinforces the awake association. If you haven’t fallen asleep after 15 minutes roughly, get up and do a boring, monotonous activity (like folding clothes) until you feel sleep again. Then go back.
- ‘Read… nay WRITE this SCAB’ – Because it’s so fucking boring. It’s the ultimate insomnia cure.
I am now fully asleep, good night.