How to get better sleep as a college student

Getting ready to leave home for college? Planning on living in a dorm or a student apartment and you’re worried it won’t be as comfortable as sleeping at home?

Student life is full of good times, discovery, outings, independence, and so much more, but studying and exams also cause a lot of stress among students. It’s therefore all the more important for you as a student to sleep well so that you are in your best possible shape to any stress that may come your way.

In this article, we show you the importance of sleep for a student, plus some tips for sleeping well, including the pro tip of using a mattress topper!


  • The importance of sleep: recovery, pain relief, stress relief, help with anxiety & depression, and maximizing performance during the day due to good mental & physical health 
  • The importance of sleep when studying: sleep facilitates our memory, learning and problem-solving abilities
  • How to overcome an uncomfortable dorm bed: The memory foam mattress topper remains the most effective solution, as it will transform a dorm bed into a comfortable place to sleep and help provide for a more sound, rejuvenating night’s rest
  • Other tips for better sleep: meditation before bed, healthy lifestyle, and a soothing atmosphere


The Importance of Quality Sleep in College Students

According to many experts, sleep protects the brain from interference from the outside world. Thus, the brain is isolated and can more easily concentrate on memorizing the information accumulated during the day. Apart from students, good sleep is also beneficial for everyone:

  • Conducive to recovery when you have too intense physical activity
  • Allows your body heal from physical aches and pains
  • Helps fight depression, anxiety or chronic stress
  • Allows us to maximize our performance for the day by keeping us in good shape

To learn more, read our article: Which mattress topper should you choose for back pain?


Good sleep for better learning

At the end of the day, you should know that when you sleep, there are two distinct phases of sleep:

  • Slow-wave sleep: this phase of sleep strengthens communication between two areas of the brain, namely the hippocampus and the cortex. The hippocampus reactivates the circuits stimulated during the learning period, which means that our knowledge and memories are transferred to the cortex, which is responsible for storing and stabilizing information long term. So basically, this phase of sleep helps you better retain what you've learned during the day.
  • REM sleep: this phase, which follows slow-wave sleep, reinforces the communication between the cortex and the striatum. REM sleep helps consolidate procedural memory and motor skills. In a nutshell, this phase helps our brain sort through and organize things we’ve learned to create space for new memories and skills.

 Sleep is also known to allow us to efficiently sort our memories according to their usefulness. When you memorize or learn one of your lessons, the hippocampus tags the memories in relation to their interests. During sleep, the memory can therefore be reactivated or not by the hippocampus according to its label.
Woman writing on a chalkboard

A more efficient thinking capacity

Several studies have shown that REM sleep strengthens our skills and notably facilitates our ability to solve problems.

For 20 years, sleep studies have shown that it does more than just give students the energy they need to study and do well in exams. 

Quality sleep actually aids our memory, learning and problem-solving abilities. Thus, a good night’s sleep makes us more productive and more efficient!

The consequences of lack of sleep

According to several studies, we need 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night to allow good physical and mental recovery to maximize our efficiency during the day. So what are we risking then if we do not get an adequate amount of sleep? 

The consequences of lack of sleep include:

  • Weight gain: Lack of sleep leads to overproduction of the hormone that determines hunger, which pushes you towards fatty, salty or sugary foods. In addition, it also influences metabolic activity by reducing your energy expenditure. It’s the combination of poor diet and insufficient physical activity that is likely to cause this weight gain.
  • Cardiovascular disease: the overproduction of hormones promotes the increase in blood pressure and bad cholesterol, increasing the risk of diabetes and heart.
  • Lower immune system: some cells function according to the circadian rhythm. So when sleep is disturbed, our white blood cells are fewer and less efficient, which makes our immune systems more vulnerable.
  • Lack of concentration & coordination: the brain removes toxins from the cerebral tissue, and if they are not eliminated, you will experience lack of concentration and coordination. Lack of motor skills leads to increased chances of car accidents and more.
  • Affected muscle activity: Sleep allows your muscles to rest and regenerate, so a lack of sleep leads to difficulty building muscle mass. Getting a good night’s sleep is therefore all the more important for athletes.
  • Tired facial expression: cell renewal also takes place in the skin, so disturbed sleep can potentially promote the appearance of dark circles, acne, or dull complexion.


What are the solutions for a good night’s sleep?

Now that you’ve learned about the importance of sleep, we’re going to share some tips for you to get the best night’s sleep possible.

The Mattress Topper: Our most suitable solution for students

At college, a lot of students often reside in dormitories. Dorms are designed for practicality, offering accommodations with the advantage of being located on or close to campus. The down sides to most dorm rooms typically tend to be the lack of comfort, where dorm beds tend to have mattresses that are old, thin or just too hard.

To overcome this problem, the most suitable solution for students is clearly the mattress topper. It’s easily transportable and will make the dorm bed much more comfortable, allowing you the opportunity to get the best night’s sleep. This will help give you all the benefits of great sleep, increasing your chances for a smooth ride to graduation.

Woman in graduation cap and gown, holding up her diploma and smiling.

To learn more, read our article: Mattress Topper Benefits.

Indeed, having a mattress topper during your studies has many advantages! As mentioned before, sleep is an integral part of success at college. It restores your mind, balances hormones, helps your mental health and physically rejuvenates your body. Plus, there are some very affordable mattress toppers on the market, so go ahead and give your body every chance to experience restful sleep.

Optimum comfort

Although it’s not a replacement for your mattress, a good mattress topper can provide comfort and give a second life to an aging mattress. If your mattress is too firm, the mattress topper will provide a layer of softness and comfort. Memory foam mattress toppers are known to provide comfort and support by conforming to the shape of your body.

Creating a barrier between you and an old mattress for better hygiene

Washing an old mattress is a relatively complex task, especially when you are a student. However, it is very important to take care of your bedding to avoid the accumulation of bacteria and to avoid suffering from allergies.

Student removing mattress topper cover to wash

Easy maintenance & fights against dust mites

Sneezing, sniffly nose, skin irritations, conjunctivitis, asthma, dry cough,… Are you allergic to dust mites?

We recommend opting for a mattress topper with a removable cover to help act as a barrier to dust mites, as well as making it super easy to clean. Viscosoft’s mattress toppers, whether you’re looking for something pillow-top soft or for something conforming and supportive, come equipped with covers are removable and machine washable!

Good mental health

As discussed earlier, poor or insufficient sleep increases the likelihood of anxiety and depression. That’s why making sure your bed is comfortable and will help get the rejuvenating sleep you need, is so important. You want your body to hit those important sleep cycles each night to keep your memory, learning and problem-solving skills in tip top shape.

By opting for a mattress topper, your quality of sleep is guaranteed to be an improvement to the existing dorm mattress.


How to choose the right mattress topper as a student

Choosing a mattress topper is sometimes difficult given the large amount of toppers on the market, so to find the mattress topper that will best meet your needs, there are two important things to remember:

-Define the reason why you want to buy a mattress topper (pain relief, cooling properties, comfort, etc.)

-Choose your mattress topper according to the condition of the existing mattress. If you have a mattress that is too hard, opt for a soft mattress topper. If you have a mattress that is too soft, go for a more firm mattress topper instead.

To find out more, see our articles: Everything you need to know about firm mattress toppers and Soft mattress toppers: When to consider

 If you don’t want to allocate too much of your budget to purchasing a mattress topper, but still want to provide some comfort to your dorm bed, don’t hesitate on a more budget-friendly mattress topper.


Our top mattress topper recommendations

To have the best chance of transforming your mattress for a great night’s sleep, we recommend some of our best-selling mattress toppers. They are proven to provide superior comfort, are versatile, and popular amongst students at over 500 different colleges and universities.

Here’s a quick list of the advantages these toppers can offer you:

  • Superior comfort
  • Pain relief
  • Optimal support
  • Pressure point relief
  • Easy care and maintenance
  • Protective barrier between you an old, used mattress
  • Extending the life of the existing mattress
  • Adjustable straps or elastic skirt to keep topper secured in place
  • Ability to return to its original shape after compression

College student sleeping on a Viscosoft Select High Density mattress topper in a dorm room

The Select High Density mattress topper is fantastic for those looking for something that is super supportive, yet still has that plush comfort feel. The high density foam is more durable than comparable foams, feels plush and pushes back with resilient support after your body settles. It’s outfitted with a washable cover, anti-slip mesh bottom, and adjustable elastic straps. It comes in both 3 inch and 4 inch thicknesses. If you’re worried about adding to the height of a mattress, keep in mind that most dorm mattresses are inherently thinner than your traditional mattress at home.
 Student sleeping on a Viscosoft Serene Hybrid mattress topper in a dorm room

The Serene Hybrid mattress topper is a great option for those looking for that plush, pillowy softness, but are still looking for that little bit of support to counteract that cheap dorm mattress. The Serene Hybrid is the best of both worlds when it comes to a mattress topper. It balances the support of memory foam with the plush comfort of a down alternative pillow top cover. A 2-piece topper that includes a fluffy pillow top, machine washable cover and layer of gel injected memory foam. This topper also comes in both 3 inch and 4 inch thicknesses.

A glass of water spilling on a waterproof mattress protector

Now that you’ve got an idea of the mattress topper you want- worried about spilling stuff or any mishaps happening on your topper? Trust us, we’ve all been there. It never hurts to add another layer of protection with a waterproof mattress protector.


Our other tips for getting a good night’s sleep

We’ve got many tips that will help you have an easier time falling asleep, so we’ve broken up a few of our favorites into two categories: General tips and tips specific to students.

General tips for better sleep

Aside from investing in good bedding, there are also two imperatives to enjoying good sleep!

  • Taking time to decompress before sleeping: exams, speeches, essays- student life can be pretty stressful, but before going to bed, it is very important to relax and clear your mind. Breathing exercises, reading, meditation or even essential oils can help you relax before falling asleep.
  • Maintain a healthy lifestyle: setting up a routine, waking up and going to bed at a fixed time each day, in addition to getting enough sleep, has positive effects on health (improved mood, reduced stress level, increased energy, etc.). It is also important to avoid all elements that promote excitement such as alcohol, caffeine or screens. Regarding meals, we can simply advise you to dine light and not too greasy so as not to disturb your digestion, because it will later disturb your sleep. Finally, despite the benefits of sport on health and on falling asleep, it is important to avoid sports sessions in the hours preceding sleep, because sports increase adrenaline and excitement, making it harder for your body to fall asleep.

 A young woman chopping vegetables

Student-specific tips for better sleep

  • If you live in a hot place, opt for a fan, this very useful accessory in summer will allow you to work in the cool to maximize concentration. In addition, we tend to sleep better when our body is cool. Fans also work great as noise machines. Noise machines are a great way to drown out unwanted to noise (tends to be a lot of this when living in the dorms!) and help rest your mind.
  • Avoid charging your computer or phone right next to your bed, so you'll be less tempted to stare at your screens just before sleeping, as it's a bad habit that makes it harder for you to fall asleep.

Our advice for creating an atmosphere that makes it easier to fall asleep

A soothing atmosphere is a great way to help your body and mind relax and prepare for sleep. Here are some of our tips:

  • Ventilate your bedroom regularly (Get some air flow in there! No one likes a stuffy room)
  • Clean your bed (Wash your sheets and pillowcases regularly, and get in the habit of making your bed!)
  • Dust every now and then (Keep that air you’re breathing in every night nice and clean)
  • Freshen up the room with some fresh cut flowers (Not only will this help bring joy, the scent of fresh flowers will help relax you)
  • Use an essential oil diffuser (This is a great alternative to the flowers, by providing a calming scent to your room. Plus, most dorms do not allow candles)

Having a room that you feel good in definitely contributes to a good night’s rest.

For more, see our article: Decorating tips to guarantee your college is everyone’s favorite hangout


As you’ve read in this article, sleeping well in your dorm room is essential to your studies. To achieve that, a quality mattress topper combined with a healthy lifestyle and a soothing atmosphere is a solid formula for great sleep. Now that you know the tools to achieve this, we wish you lots of success for your studies!

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