The Sleep Imperative

Posted: September 26, 2019 8:44:00 AM CDT

Student sleeping at deskAssignments. Quizzes. Projects. Exams. Finals. It seems as if a college student’s life revolves around making deadlines and successfully completing coursework. But don’t forget trying to fit in a work schedule, social schedule, and a sleep schedule is just as important. It feels almost impossible to get everything accomplished within a semester as a college student. Most students compromise their sleep schedule to find time to accomplish those late-night projects or pull an all-nighter studying for an exam. However, that could be more detrimental than one would expect. Studies have found that sleep difficulties can significantly impair academic performance (Buboltz, Brown, & Soper, 2001).

Getting a good night of sleep, consistently, is an imperative for a student’s success throughout their college journey.

Did you know?

  • College students who pull all-nighters are more likely to have lower GPAs.
  • Ongoing sleep deficiency is linked to an increased risk of heart disease, kidney disease, diabetes, and stroke (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).
  • Students who stay up late on school nights and try to make up for it over the weekend are more likely to perform lower in the classroom (American Academy of Sleep Medicine).
  • A consistently good sleep schedule can help improve memory consolidation and cognition.
  • People who are sleep deficient are less productive at work and school. They take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time, and make more mistakes (National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute).

Now that you know the importance of sleep, especially for college students, here are some tips to improve your sleep cycle.

  • Go to Bed Early. It is important to get to bed at an adequate time to achieve a good night of sleep. College students need between 7-8 hours of sleep each night. You must give yourself the opportunity to get a good night sleep.
  • Get Out of Bed if You Need to. It can be extremely frustrating getting into bed only to toss and turn for hours until you finally fall asleep. If that is the case, get out of bed and do something relaxing, such as meditating, until you feel sleepy enough to go to sleep. 
  • Limit Naps. There is nothing more satisfying than coming back to your dorm and taking a nap after a long day. Naps are complementary to your sleep schedule if they are brief and concise. Studies suggest napping for less than an hour and before 3 pm (American Academy of Sleep Medicine).
  • Avoid Caffeine. It is best to stay away from caffeine during the afternoon and evening. Caffeine can stay in your system for hours and can lead to a night of poor sleep. 
  • Turn Off All Electronics. Turning off electronics at least one hour before bedtime can help lead to a successful sleep schedule. Unplugging all devices helps create a calm and relaxing environment to help you fall asleep faster.
  • Sleep in a Cool Environment. Studies have shown that a cooler temperature in the bedroom can help a person fall asleep faster. Most people fall asleep faster when the thermostat is between 60-67oF (Drerup, 2018).
  • Be Mindful of Mealtime. Having a large meal before going to bed can make falling asleep difficult. A light or healthy snack can fulfill your hunger before bedtime.

It can be extremely easy to push play on the next episode of Netflix or continue scrolling on Instagram. Challenge yourself to start getting into a consistently healthy sleep schedule, because the benefits of more energy throughout the day, improved overall health, and higher academic performance are important.

Go catch some zzz’s and have a great semester Lopers!

References

American Academy of Sleep Medicine. (2017, November 6). College students: Getting enough sleep is vital to academic success. Retrieved from https://aasm.org/college-students-getting-enough-sleep-is-vital-to-academic-success/

Buboltz, W. C., Brown, F., & Soper, B. (2001). Sleep habits and patterns of college students: A preliminary study. Journal of American College Health, 50(3), 131-135. doi: 10.1080/07448480109596017

Drerup, M. (2018, November 8). What is the ideal sleeping temperature for my bedroom? The short answer from a sleep psychologist. Retrieved from https://health.clevelandclinic.org/what-is-the-ideal-sleeping-temperature-for-my-bedroom/

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. (n.d.) Sleep deprivation and deficiency. Retrieved from https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health-topics/sleep-deprivation-and-deficiency

By: Heath Education

Category: Health Education, General

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