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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).
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.
Historical and cultural perspectives of sleep. (2008, January 2). Healthy Sleep, Division of Sleep Medicine, Harvard University. Retrieved from http://healthysleep.med.harvard.edu/healthy/matters/history
National Sleep Foundation. (2014). Inside your bedroom. Retrieved from http://sleepfoundation.org/bedroom/
National Sleep Foundation. (2014). Touch. Retrieved from http://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 http://www.gretchenrubin.com/happiness_project/2009/08/make-your-bed/
Sleep and pleasure. (2013, September 5). SleepCultures.com. Retrieved from http://www.sleepcultures.com/news-and-notes/sleep-and-pleasure
Student Health 101 survey, November 2016.