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We all crave sleep. When we asked hundreds of students what they’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. As Teresa Wroe from the Office of Institutional Equity and Compliance here at CU Boulder says, sleep lets us “turn off our brains” and combat stressors.

Which sleepy moments do you relish the most? Source: Student Health 101 survey. 920 students answered this question. 1. Getting into bed after a long day 2. The warmth and security of being in bed 3. Waking up refreshed 4. Reading or watching TV in bed 5. Waking up and remembering a good dream 6. The drowsy transition between being awake and being asleep 7. Eating or drinking in bed

Four ways to soak in sleep like the gift that it is:

1. Make your bed every day

Think of your bed as a present to yourself. You’ll peel back the 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

Try…

  • 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. They’re an investment, but well worth it!

How do students rank life’s greatest pleasures? Source: Student Health 101 survey. 800 students answered the question: Which of these would you relish most right now? 1. Being with someone I love 2. Sleep 3. Good food 4. Being in nature 5. Sex (or fantasy) 6. Music, literature, arts

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Article sources

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.

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Chelsea Dill, MA, has degrees in creative writing, and English, writing, and mass communications. She has written for digital and print publications in the US and UK. She enjoys wellness lifestyle research and devising healthy alternative cooking.