​Student Mattresses: 10 Steps to Better Sleep at Uni

Posted by Emma Carlton - Buying and Merchandising Manager on 23rd Aug 2023

​Student Mattresses: 10 Steps to Better Sleep at Uni

Freshers starting their university adventures for the first time face a whirlwind of emotions. That mixture of excitement, panic, and curiosity can be overwhelming at times. But you can take solace in the knowledge that every single student is experiencing that same combo of feelings. And being properly prepared with all those essential home comforts will provide the comfort you need.

One thing to remember: sleep remains key. A great night’s sleep sets you up for success. And for students at university, this couldn’t be more true. Along with all the new information to take in, the new social experiences to explore, and the new and lasting friendships to be made, you can expect to spend at least a few late nights catching up on your essays and assignments. So, whether your sleep schedule suffered last year and you’re after a do-over this time round, or you’re new to uni and want to learn how to sleep better while you’re there, our top 10 tips will come in handy. Read on to unveil all.

Our top 10 tips to help you sleep better at university

With your upcoming enrolment into university, sleep is probably the last thing on your mind. But it shouldn’t be. Sleep is integral to being able to function at full capacity both on a social and an academic level (1). So, we’ve put together a list of steps you can take to achieve a great night’s sleep every night to make the most of your new adventure. Without further ado, here are our top 10 tips to help you achieve that harmonious balance of work and life at uni through sleep.

A university student studying on her laptop outdoors surrounded by trees

1. Consider buying a new mattress

As experts on sleep, we can’t stress enough the importance of a proper mattress. And while a mattress might not be the first thing you think of packing when moving into student digs, it could make all the difference to your success.

Given that student accommodations in the first year are usually halls of residences on multiple storeys, a rolled mattress is a great idea. Rolled up mattresses are great for this exact scenario for a number of reasons including:

  1. Rolled mattresses are easy to transport. This means you’ll be able to purchase your new better sleep solution ahead of your trip to university. Provided the entire family isn’t coming along to drop you off at your new digs, a rolled mattress should fit nicely into the boot space of a car. Or for smaller hatchbacks, the back seats may need to be folded down. Either way, it’s more doable than a standard single mattress.
  2. Rolled mattresses come neatly compacted. As rolled mattresses are delivered neatly compacted either into a box or in eco-conscious recycled sugar cane packaging, navigating the stairs of your new accommodation will be much easier. So, even if you’re on the top floor of the halls of residence and there are no lifts in the building, you’ll be able to get your new mattress to your new room with minimal difficulty.
  3. Rolled mattresses are ready to sleep on in a matter of hours. All you’ll need to do is make unboxing your new mattress your priority upon arriving at your new accommodation. Then, leave it to regain its usual shape while you get on with all the other aspects of uni life. It’ll be ready to sleep on by the time you’re ready to crawl into bed later that evening. Win-win.

There’s plenty of other reasons why a new mattress is a great idea though. Not least of them being that you’ll never really know how old your uni digs-provided mattress is. Nor will you know how many people have slept on it during its lifespan. Gross, right? Learn more about whether you need a replacement mattress here.

Why is a good quality mattress important for a good night’s sleep?

A good quality mattress plays many different roles while you sleep including preparing you for the next day at university. Better sleep improves concentration and your ability to process the new informationyou’ll be hit with each and every day. Being tired slows down your ability to focus in lectures (2). But, a better night’s sleep can leave you feeling refreshed and ready to perform at the top of your game.

Another thing the ideal mattress can help you achieve is that zen feeling. Better sleep leads to reduced stress and anxiety levels (3) both of which are likely to be elevated as you begin this new experience. And stress, anxiety, and worry are completely normal emotions at this transitional period in your life (4). The key is to not let the worry and negative thoughts overpower the positive ones. Better sleep can help you manage your emotions more effectively. So, if a new mattress will help you achieve better sleep while at university, it’s worth the investment.

The right mattress could also ensure that you wake from each sleep university free from aches and pains. It all starts with choosing the right mattress for your preferred sleep position. If you’d like to learn more about how to choose the right mattress, our blog post will help.

2. Invest in a mattress protector

If you’re off to stay in halls of residence or any other type of student housing at university, and a new mattress is beyond your budget, a mattress protector is a wise idea. A mattress protector adds an additional layer between you and the mattress that has previously been used by several strangers before you.

Choose one that’s easy to wash. And one that’s dryer-friendly is a good idea as you likely won’t have space to have an airing maiden up for an indefinite amount of time in your uni room. The Teflon Supreme Care Mattress Protector is ideal as it’s manufacturer-approved to be tumble-dried on a cool setting.

And for freshers and uni students with more specific needs, other options are available. Hot and cold sleepers will benefit from the iGel Perfect Partner Mattress Protector which has been designed to ensure that your body is kept at the optimal sleep temperature to help you secure a great-night’s sleep. And allergy sufferers can turn to the Slumberland Anti-Allergy Mattress Protector. With it’s anti-allergy properties, itshould help keep sleep disruptions triggered by allergens to a minimum.

3. Think about a mattress topper

The quality of the mattresses in halls of residences at universities across the country are infamous. And realistically, how are you going to be able to pay proper attention during lectures (or even fall asleep after a night out with your new found friends) if the mattress springs are poking you all night long?

And so, for those who like the idea of a new mattress but don’t have the budget for it, a mattress topper is a great alternative to consider. Elevate your bedtime comfort at university with a mattress topper. Given that they’re thicker than mattress protectors, mattress toppers can work wonders when it comes to delivering a much more inviting sleep surface to the lumpy one offered by your less-than-desirable student accommodation-issued mattress. So, achieving better sleep as a student won’t be quite as difficult with this in your arsenal.

4. Treat yourself to a new duvet and pillow

Where pillows and duvets are concerned, taking the ones from your bedroom at home can seem like an obvious move. But,this means you would have to haul that same duvet and pillow back home at Christmas, Easter, Summer and every other family occasion too. So,buying a new duvet and a new pillow or two that can live at uni (practically) year-round is a wise investment.

Learn a little more about how to choose the perfect pillow and why it’s so important in our Thick or Thin Pillows: Which are Best? Sleep Hub article.

5. Pick out new sheets and covers

Now it’s time to personalise your otherwise blank and boring canvass. So, pack your personal items (nick-nacks, photos of friends and family, and any other personal effects that will help make your room at uni feel more like home) and treat yourself to some personality-packed bed sheets. This will really help to liven up your room.

A freshly made, comfortable bed set up will provide you with a warm welcome after your first day at uni. And in turn, a warm welcome will help you feel more at-home which should see sleep come more quickly than in a space that feels alien. And that comfy bed set up will be appreciated again and again. From when you wake up and arrive back after lectures to returning to your room after hanging out with new friends, getting in from a night out and beyond, there’ll be plenty of opportunity for new bed sheets to brighten your mood (5).

6. Try to keep your bedroom a sleep-only zone

Yes, this isn’t always practical, but it’ll help with normalising your new environment. If you choose to use your bedroom for sleeping and not socialising or studying, you will link that space with sleep. And by having a designated area for sleep, sleep will come easier.

It’svery easy to fall into the habit of using your unibedroom for absolutely everything. Don’t! Hang out in the kitchen,visit friends, and study in the library. If you can stick to using your bedroom purely for sleep, you could achieve better quality sleep. Plus, it’ll help you build a social circle and get the best experience out of shared housing too (6). Win-win!

And for those times where your room is the only place you can study, try to make a conscious effort to study at your desk. Leave your bed as a designated sleep and relaxation zone to achieve better sleep while at uni.

7. Take your bedtime routine with you

Or adapt it if needs be. University is exciting. But it’s an experience that is all-encompassing. And one that doesn’t make it tricky to see ourstructured sleep hygiene routines crumble completely. A proper bedtime routine sends our mind and body the signals it needs to start winding down and preparing for sleep. So, if you don’t want your sleep to suffer while you’re studying at university, taking your existing bedtime routine with you is a great idea. Or, create yourself a new one that better fits in with your life at uni.

Good things to implement into your bedtime routine include showering, brushing your teeth, and any nighttime skincare activities. Other activities to work into your pre-bed rituals can be any calming and enjoyable pastimes such as reading a book or listening to music. The main goal is to keep bedtime screen-free while creating a positive yet peaceful sleep space. This will help you fall asleep faster.

For more information and advice from our resident Sleep Expert Dr Sophie Bostock, check out our ‘Sleep: Back to Basics’ Sleep Hub article.

8. Cut out the noise

Parties at university can get out of hand on a nightly basis, especially in halls. And the reality is you won’t always be in the mood to join the party. So, when you’re not in that party mood, blocking out the sleep-disruption and noise from your fellow uni students is essential.

Earplugs are a great way to minimise sleep disturbance caused by noise at night while at uni. And they’re available to suit every budget at a wide range of online stores and marketplaces too.

9. Dim the lights

Work this into the beginning of your uni bedtime routine and you should benefit from a better night’s sleep. Your body's circadian clock responds to light in general. Increased amounts of light tells our bodies it’s time to be awake and active, while darkness signals thatit’s time to sleep.

Avoiding bright lights for 2 hours ahead of climbing under the covers should make it much easier to fall asleep (7). So, if you want to sleep better while at university, carry out your new or newly adjusted bedtime routine with the lights turned down low. And doing this is as easy as switching to lamplight or candlelight over ceiling lights.

Then simply switch of your lamp (or blow out the candles) when you’re ready to turn in.

10. Stop drinking a few hours before bed

So, we understand that alcohol is part and parcel of uni life for many of us. But,did you know that alcohol can be very disruptive where sleep is concerned? And with sleep being important for daytime functionality both physically and mentally, alcohol could be disruptive on your ability to concentrate during lectures. But don’t worry – you won’t have to abstain from alcohol completely if you want to do well at university! We have another solution up our sleeves.

Stopping drinking alcohol several hours before bedtime will allow your body enough time to metabolise the alcohol in your system which will minimise the impact on your sleep (8).

Achieve a revitalising sleep with Bensons

Our diverse collection of mattresses, mattress protectors, pillows and duvets offer something to help every uni student achieve a good night’s sleep. Helping you to choose your bed, your way®, here at Bensons for Beds we combine expert knowledge with the latest sleeppro technology to make getting that all important great night’s sleep easier than ever before.

For more information on uni sleep solutions visit your nearest showroom or call us on 0808 144 6160.


  1. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/how-sleep-works/why-do-we-need-sleep
  2. https://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/features/emotions-cognitive
  3. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/322994
  4. https://www.krysallis.org.uk/how-to-combat-stress-and-anxiety-about-starting-university/
  5. https://www.cityblock.co.uk/blog/top-tips-for-personalising-your-student-room/
  6. https://pickardproperties.co.uk/talking-points/how-to-get-better-sleep-as-a-student/
  7. https://www.cdc.gov/niosh/emres/longhourstraining/light.htm
  8. https://www.sleepfoundation.org/sleep-hygiene/good-sleep-and-job-performance
authors profile
Emma Carlton
Buying and Merchandising Manager
Emma has worked at Bensons for Beds for 10 years and is a fundamental part of the Bensons’ team, her wealth of breadth and knowledge is invaluable. Emma’s drive, determination, and tenacity ensures we provide our customers with the market leading products to suit our customer individual needs, at great value prices.
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