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Are You Getting Enough Sleep in College?

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that adults get between seven and nine hours of sleep per night, but around 60% of college students don’t even come close to the recommended minimum.; and those who do try to get some ‘longer’ shuteye, around 75% of them report experiencing sleep disturbances. What’s also important to note is that getting enough sleep involves more than getting up feeling energized and focused. It also involves keeping heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, and obesity at bay—since your risk of all these issues rises when you are sleep-deprived.

Sleep Deprivation and Hormonal Issues

Poor quality sleep can lead to hormone imbalances, which in turn lead to further sleep deprivation. For instance, reduced sleep causes drops in testosterone—a hormone that both men and women need for muscle building, bone strength, and red blood cell formation. Having low levels of testosterone can lead to a reduced sex drive, decreased muscle mass, low energy, and poor concentration. A lack of sleep can also lead to an elevation of the stress hormone, cortisol. Having chronically high levels of cortisol is linked to cardiovascular disease, anxiety, depression, and a host of additional physical and mental problems.

 

The Influence of Sleep on Academic Results 

When you lack sleep, you can experience severe drowsiness, it can be harder to concentrate, and your grades can suffer. In one study, people who had enough sleep used innovative solutions twice as much as those who were sleep-deprived to solve complex mathematical problems. People who sleep less by night and more in the daytime are also more prone to vehicle and work accidents. In some studies, quality sleep has been considered as vital for memory integration and cognitive processing. On the other hand, a lack of sleep is linked to difficulties focusing. In college, you can have many complex topics to process and memorize. By getting a good night’s sleep, you can ensure you are alert in class and more able to work out difficult concepts and retain them in your memory.

Night Sleep is a Key to Academic Success 

February 2023 study undertaken at Carnegie Mellon University has found that college students actually sleep 6.5 hours a night. However, once they start dipping below six hours nightly, they start to accumulate “a massive sleep debt” that negatively influences their health and study habits. What’s more, those who stay up late to study to the detriment of their sleep are only harming themselves in the long run, since sleep deprivation affects their ability to learn and enjoy academic success. For instance, each hour of sleep lost corresponds to a 0.07 decrease in students’ end-of-term GPA.

 

 

Sleep, Happiness, and Wellbeing 

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine has revealed that keeping a regular sleep pattern in college promotes happiness and wellbeing. By contrast, people who follow irregular sleep schedules throughout the week have lower self-reported morning and evening happiness, healthiness, and calmness. In others words, college students should not only aim to get the recommended number of hours per night. They should also aim to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. 

 

Boosting Sleep Quality 

In order to ensure good sleep quality, aim to follow a regular routine and create a peaceful resting space. To ensure you feel sleepy at night, aim to avoid using screens within the hour before you go to bed. Make sure your room is completely dark—use blackout curtains if light from the street makes its way into your bedroom. Soundproofing is another great investment if you live in a noisy area. You should also choose a mattress that contains the right firmness for your sleeping position. Keep your room clean and tidy, so you do not experience the stress caused by clutter. 

College life can be stressful. There are many conflicting demands for your time, ad you want to find the perfect balance between study and your social life. Aim to follow a strict sleep routine so you feel focused and energized when you wake up in the morning. Try to avoid sleeping during the day (even if you’re dying to nap) so you fall asleep faster by night. Finally, make the necessary changes to your room so it is dark, quiet, and pleasantly cool.

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