Counseling & Wellness Center

Sleep & Relaxation Advice


At the Counseling Center, we understand how stressful college life can be. That’s why we’ve put together some tips and exercises for you to manage stress in a positive, healthy way through proper sleep and relaxation methods.

Sleep Advice

Not sleeping well? Feeling exhausted every day? Try taking the following steps to improve your sleeping habits.

  • Go to bed on a routine and consistent schedule.
  • Avoid naps in the afternoon, and limit your naps to 20-30 minutes.
  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine four to six hours before bedtime.
  • Exercise regularly, but not within two to four hours of going to bed.
  • If you can’t fall asleep within 20 minutes, get up and do something boring in a dimly-lit environment until you feel sleepy.
  • Practice sleep techniques, such as relaxation methods, meditation and stretching.
  • Make your bed comfortable and block out distracting noises and lights.
  • Eliminate the use of TV, studying, movies, reading, etc. in bed.

You might also want to practice these sleep techniques for a better night’s rest:

Sensing Scan (3 Minutes)
Sleep Technique (5 Minutes)


Relaxation can be achieved through a few key methods: mindful awareness, guided imagery, meditation, applied muscle or progressive relaxation.

Try the following exercises to alleviate your worries and rid your body of tension:


The Relaxation Response (8 Minutes)
Relaxation on the Beach (6 Minutes)
Mental Imagery Exercise (8 Minutes)

Progressive Relaxation Exercises

If you’ve never tried progressive relaxation exercises, it may be something helpful for you to try. This process involves setting aside some time in a quiet, comfortable place where you can practice making specific muscle groups in your body more relaxed one at a time. Try the exercise below from the Dartmouth College relaxation series!

Progressive Relaxation Exercise (30 minutes)