19 8 / 2014

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After a summer of partying till 3am and eating pizza at 4am, sleep may be the last thing you care about. But September is two weeks away and those 7am mornings could kill you.  Unless you listen to track star and Hart House featured blogger Alicia Brown’s advice.

By Alicia Brown

A wise person once said: “Fail to plan and plan to fail.” I think this sums up the life of a UofT student, not just when it comes to studying, but also when it comes to sleeping. After all, you plan everything else in your life, so why not plan to get adequate, restful, effective sleep as well?

As a former night owl, I understand the fear of missing out, and let’s face it, wanting to spend more time with friends, in person and online, all while trying to get your studies done.

Yet with age and experience, I’ve found myself feeling very comfortable with down time, a little well deserved me-time that allows for rejuvenation. And although old habits truly are hard to break, I find the benefits certainly outweigh the rough transition..

Schedule Sleep

I have learned that my body functions much more efficiently on an early sleep schedule with greater hours of sleep, thus making it more important for me to schedule my day so I’ll be in bed at a reasonable hour.

This isn’t as hard as it may seem. I promise, exciting things do happen before midnight.

The first step is to rearrange your calendar. Try planning girls’ (or boys’) night during happy hour as opposed to committing to The Brunny every Friday night. Arrange your calendar so you can still do everything you like to do: friends and family; readings and lectures; gym and work. Just don’t forget sleep—make it a priority and not just a thing that happens when you have the time.

Start by setting a goal of being in bed before 11:30pm and aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night — no more of this 5-6 hour business. Over the month, gradually make your bedtime earlier until you find your perfect sleep schedule. Trust me, you’ll know because you’ll wake up feeling100%.

Tea time and a bath

Get well-acquainted with chamomile tea. I promise, it’ll likely be one of your best investments this school season. If you are not a fan of the flowery delight, pick any other calming medley, but beware, not all herbal teas are decaf, so make sure the tea you pick is caffeine-free. A popular go to is Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Herbal tea. I’d also recommend a warm shower or bath, as it helps relax and soothe the body. Whether you choose to do so before or after tea is up to you.

Read for pleasure (yes, that’s allowed)

Now that you’re bathed and tea’d, jump into bed and grab a book. No, not your textbook. Read for pleasure. As a student, I recall how unmotivated I was to read for pleasure. It was often the last thing I wanted to do after a full day of studying. However, I’ve since rediscovered the joy of reading and let me tell you, I find it unbelievably comforting! You don’t have to commit to the novel, just read long enough to let your mind simmer down and drift. You won’t regret it.

Put away electronics

In theory, this one is pretty simple. Say good bye to Whatsapp, iChat and text messages; close Instagram, Twitter and Facebook; and logout of emails, and Netflix. A study by the Lighting Research Center at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute suggests that exposure to backlit displays from your favourite electronics can suppress melatonin levels making it more difficult to fall asleep as well as reduce your quality of sleep. I know we all love to stay connected but look at it this way: Make bed time me time. Turn off your electronic distractions; brew a cup of your favorite tea and jump in the shower. Cuddle up in your bed; settle into a good book and sleep tight!

Photo by CollegeDegrees360 on Flickr.

12 8 / 2014

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With September just around the corner, isn’t now a great time to plan your new school year?

With that in mind, we went over our reports to find our three most popular blog posts ever.

By analyzing what you clicked on, read, and shared the more, we hope to help all U of T students overcome some of the challenges they face.

So without further ado, we give you our our three most popular posts:

Third Most Popular Post: A Year With Three Aspiring Pan Am Athletes: Meet Zack Chetrat

The second of a series on U of T PanAm hopefuls, this post lists the thoughts of swimmer Zack Chetrat on success and failure and his love for racing.

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05 8 / 2014

Beginning today, the photographic work of our late friend Ali Saeed will be on display as a Talking Walls exhibit along the main hallway on the main floor of Hart House. The images below will be included in the exhibit:

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29 7 / 2014

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A close working relationship with your crew has always been conducive to great filmmaking.

Earlier this month, we sat down with a talented team of young filmmakers so we could tell you about the wonderful world of filmmaking. (Click here if you haven’t already read it.)

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22 7 / 2014

Time to enjoy a mix of classical and contemporary work, brought to you by U of T’s Performing Arts Leader.

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With its charm and wit, it’s no wonder that The Importance of Being Earnest has stood the test of time.

Beginning this September, you’ll be able to catch a great show at the Hart House Theatre, which has been producing affordable, accessible, high-quality productions for Toronto audiences since 1919.

To kick off the season, the Theatre brings Oscar Wilde’s groundbreaking satire The Importance of Being Earnest to life. This will be followed by Shakespeare’s The Tempest, which hasn’t been seen on our stage for over 50 years.

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