Don’t let living in a dorm keep you from falling asleep on your textbooks. Image courtesy of Flickr user quinnanya. Licensed under CC 2.0 BY-NC-SA.There are three basic things that college students need and spend most of their time trying to get: Food, sleep, and sex. It’s true. We’re just as predictable as Maslow said we are. Sure, grades and homework, those things are important too. But I’m talking basic needs here. If you haven’t eaten all day, there’s just no way that chapter in your chemistry book is going matter until you get some food in your stomach. And if you haven’t had any kind of release for your pent up, college-hormone, unruly horniness, it gets a little difficult to concentrate on anything, even that short three page paper (y’all know exactly what I am talking about, don’t pretend you don’t).


While the other two necessities are pretty important, I’d have to say that one need that is hardest to come by is sleep. I’ll go ahead and state the obvious: sleeping in dorms sucks. It sucks a lot. We’ve got to deal with roommates, suitemates, wallmates, hallmates, and all the other kind of mates that sometimes just make it impossible to sleep. Dorms are noisy. They can be uncomfortable. They’re shared by hundreds of students who are pretty much guaranteed not to have the same sleeping schedule as you. When you’re ready to call it a night, the obnoxious sorority sisters across the hall might not agree with you. So while sleeping in dorms sucks, there are some things you can do to make sure you get your beauty rest while living on campus.


Make Your Bed Comfortable

Mattresses in dorm rooms have probably been around the block a couples times. They’re not always the most comfortable things to sleep on. So give your bed an upgrade and get yourself a foam mattress pad or some other form of cushioning to make your bed a little more soporific. Mattress pads tend to be a bit on the expensive side, especially for college students, but if you buy one of good quality, it should last you all four years of college. They can help with mattress that have sunken in the middle too, like mine was last year. Hopefully a more comfortable bed will make it easier for you to sink into a deep sleep.


Block Out Sounds

The Huffington Post recently wrote an article about tips to get to sleep in a dorm room and focused some of their tips on blocking out sounds in order to get to sleep in a dorm room. (I will have you all know that I came up with the idea first. They clearly read my mind and stole my idea.) HuffPo suggests noise cancelling headphones. After my suitemates kept me up until 3:30 am one night last week, I immediately looked into getting some of these babies. However, they are ridiculously expensive and way outside the budget for any college student. Additionally, most sets are big and bulky. Seriously, how are you supposed to sleep in those massive things? Try my $0.99 remedy instead—buy a white noise song off iTunes or wherever else you get your music. I set my single song to loop on my iPod, put one earbud in, and I’m asleep within minutes. The white noise track I chose essentially sounds like a big fan. If people in the hall or the next room get louder, I simply turn up the volume and it just sounds like a loud fan. Coincidently, HuffPo also suggested a fan to provide white noise to help you get to sleep. However, unless you have a megasuper fan, a little desk fan really isn’t going to do much to drown out the sound of loud neighbors.


Seek Help

If none of the measures you take in your dorm room help you get to sleep, you might need to actually go talk to people. I know. How inconvenient. But most dorms should have quiet hours, in theory at least. If the noise is coming from your suitemates, wallmates, or across-the-hall mates, knock on their door and ask them to please keep their noise level down. Decent people will probably apologize and lower their loudness. However, it’s not uncommon for the noise to magically go back up to its original level. In these cases, you’re going to have to enlist the help of an RA.  Send your RA an email or knock on their door to ask them to act as an enforcer.
What methods do you use to get to sleep in a dorm setting? Let us know in the comments!