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Getting a Good Night's Sleep

One of the most common themes among my classmates during our first month of law school has been the poor sleep we have all been getting. We're in a new place with new responsibilities and plenty of stress to think about when trying to fall asleep.

Any expert will tell you how essential sleep is to productivity, but it can be difficult to achieve when you have a lot on your mind. Here's some tricks that work for me.

1. Get a sleep mask

Sleeping with a mask over your eyes takes a little getting used to, but is so helpful for those nights when you can't keep your eyes shut. Wearing an eye mask is especially helpful if you have any light coming into your room at night. I just ordered this one off Amazon and I'm obsessed with how silky it is.

2. Melatonin

Melatonin is a hormone that your body produces naturally, but can also be taken as a dietary supplement, like how one would take vitamins. According to WebMD, "In most cases, melatonin supplements are safe in low doses for short-term and long-term use. But be sure to talk with your doctor about taking them." To ensure I'm not drowsy in the morning, I make sure I take melatonin more than 8 hours before I have to wake up. It works wonders for me, but definitely take your doctor's medical advice over mine!

3. Bedtime Tea

Drinking an herbal tea with chamomile has a very relaxing effect. (I personally use Yogi's Bedtime tea). Drinking too much too soon before bed can make you wake up in the middle of the night to pee so plan accordingly. Also, make sure you get one without caffeine. Which leads me to my next point...

4. No Caffeine After 3 p.m.

This can be a hard rule to follow when you're studying at 6 p.m. and struggling to keep your eyes open, but drinking caffeine late in the afternoon makes me so jittery when I try to fall asleep. If absolutely must, I'll have some green tea. I've found that herbal tea (which is caffeine free) is also a good choice when studying before bed.

5. Watch a boring movie at low volume

Sometimes when I can't sleep, I pick a random show on Netflix that I don't actually care to see and put the volume so that I can just barely hear it. It's loud enough to distract me from whatever my mind is preoccupied with, but quiet enough that I can't really make out what they're saying and follow along.

5. Wine

If all else fails, pour yourself some red wine and call it a night. Just be prepared for the sugar headache you might face the next morning.

Someone recommended this to my mom when she told them I wasn't sleeping well. I have no idea how it works or how to explain it but I have never slept better. Basically, it's this mat with plastic spikes. You lay on it for like 10-20 minutes before bed. It honestly hurts for the first 2 minutes or so, but then after it's super relaxing. I think it's supposed to be a less intense form of acupuncture and get your blood flowing and all that, but who knows. Anyways, it's $20 but helps me sleep like a baby.

Updated 3/13/17

DISCLAIMER: I'm not a doctor and none of these statements are intended to treat insomnia or any other medical condition. Always consult your physician.

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