The Ways To Get More Sleep As a College Student
Start writing a post
Health Wellness

The Ways To Get More Sleep As a College Student

The consequences of not getting enough sleep, and what you should do about it.

185
The Ways To Get More Sleep As a College Student
@tamar-waskey

If you don't have sleeping problems, you probably know someone who does. Up to 60% of all college students suffer from poor sleep quality, and 7.7% meet all criteria for an insomnia disorder. Sleep problems have a great impact on students' daily life. Those that experience sleeping disturbances have poorer declarative and procedural learning, neurocognitive performance and academic success, according to a study in Sleep Medicine Reviews in 2006.

This is an issue that is clearly affecting many, many college students. College students should get about seven to nine hours of sleep, according to many sleep specialists. Not only is the length of sleep important, but also sleep latency, sleep efficiency, wake after sleep onset, and REM latency.

Sleep latency is how long it takes to go from "lights out" to asleep. Sleep efficiency is the total time in bed compared to time spent sleeping. Wake after sleep onset is the amount of time you wake up in the middle of the night before actually waking up. Wake time after sleep offset accounts for long periods of wakefulness after an unusual early morning awakening. Lastly, REM latency is the time between sleep onset and REM sleep. A good night's rest is a combination of enough hours of sleep and quality sleep patterns.

Getting a good night's sleep can make students feel like they can tackle everything on their plate. But that's not the only reason to get enough sleep. Teens and college students who fit in seven to eight hours of sleep every night are more likely to see many benefits.

A better grade point average is the most strongly correlated positive effect. Research conducted at the University of Georgia found that one in four students surveyed reported that sleep deprivation negatively impacted their grades and in some cases, resulting in the need to withdraw from a course entirely.

Better memory is also a huge one. High school and college students need to process tons of new information daily during their waking hours. That information is then sorted and organized by the brain during sleep cycles. The more sleep students get, the more efficient their brain is at retaining important information and setting aside things that are irrelevant.

Lowered risk of obesity has also been shown as connected to more sleep. When students are sleep deprived, the body produces more ghrelin, the "hunger hormone." This hormone stimulates appetite and promotes fat storage. As a result, your boy craves high-calorie foods. But the chances of weight gain associated with lack of sleep don't end there. Sleep increases leptin levels in the body, a hormone designed to curb appetite.

Students who are sleep deprived are more likely to get sick because their immune systems aren't functioning at the most optimal level. During sleep, the body releases proteins called cytokines, which are needed when you have an infection or are under stress. If you're chronically sleep deprived, cytokine production is reduced and your body also releases fewer antibodies, which makes you more susceptible to viruses. Lack of sleep also affects recovery time so when you do get a cold or the flu, it'll take you longer to get over it.

Good sleep leads to mental well-being. Even just one night of disturbed sleep or not enough sleep can make students feel moody, irritable, sad, and sluggish the next day. Prolonged sleep deprivation can lead to more serious mood disorders such as anxiety and depression.

What can you do to avoid the negative consequences of sleep deprivation? The first recommendation is to take proper, and limited, naps. Dr. Aneesa Das, MD, and Assistant Direction of The Ohio State Sleep Disorders Center, says to avoid naps if you can, but if you need to, do it before 4pm, and naps should be no more than 20-30 minutes to avoid the groggy feeling that occurs when you're awakened suddenly during your sleep cycle.

Avoid afternoon caffeine is also crucial. Avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks after about 4 pm in the afternoon or earlier. Caffeine ca impact sleep for up to eight hours after students drink it because it increases brain wave activity. Even if you're ac=le to fall asleep during this time, it will be lighter and less restorative than it should be.

This may be hard for many college students, but make sure that you create a general sleep pattern schedule to make sure your body clock has some regularity. People can handle an hour's difference from day to day, but staying up all night, even just one night, and then sleeping all the next day can mess up your body clock and throw you off for over a week. "There are clock genes in every organ, and they need to remain coordinated for the immune system, hormonal systems, heart, lungs, brain, etc. to function optimally and to repair damage from the preceding wake period," Dr. Ann Romaker, Associate Professor in the Department of Internal Medicine at the UC College of Medicine, and Director of the University of Cincinnati Sleep Medicine Center.

This is a tough one for most teens and young adults but sleep specialist Dr. Whitney Roban says students should stop using electronic devices at least an hour before going to bed. "The blue light emitted from electronics tricks your brain into thinking it's daytime and your body decreases the amount of melatonin it secretes, which makes it more difficult to fall asleep," she explains.
Some students say the soft sounds of a television helps them fall asleep. That may be true but having the TV on does nothing for the quality of your sleep. As programs change or go in and out of commercials, there are variations in audio. You might not be fully awake during this time and may not even wake up at all, but these small variations can affect overall sleep quality.
Students who suffer from insomnia may want to consider seeing a doctor to discuss sleep medications like zaleplon, zolpidem, eszopiclone, and doxepin. These medications improve your sleep/wake cycle, making a better night's sleep more possible. If you prefer a more natural approach, supplements like magnesium, calcium, and melatonin may help combat sleep problems.

While there are many sleep medications out there, this should definitely be the last resort for college students, in order to avoid medication dependence.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Swoon

8 Valentine's Day Gift Ideas For Your Long-Distance Partner

Looking for a gift idea for your long-distance Valentine's date this year? Here are some creative, thoughtful gifts for you!

8826
Photo by Ben Collins on Unsplash

As Valentine's Day approaches, I realized that it's the first Valentine's Day I have had with my boyfriend that we're more than 6,000 miles apart. Despite the distance though, my mind has been reeling over what to get him, as one of my main love languages is gift-giving. So here are some ideas that I've seen that I think would be perfect for any relationship, whether you're together or apart.

Keep Reading... Show less
Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

To be perfectly honest, I wasn't sure how to write this article.

In the past, I've written about the lies we tell ourselves. I've written about how thoughts can be destructive, how they can have power over who we are.

Keep Reading... Show less
Adulting

Put Down Your Phone And Read These 8 Statistics About Texting And Driving You Wish Didn't Exist

We text all the time, so it's no surprise you may find yourself wanting to pick up your phone even when you're driving.

3167

You're driving to the grocery store when your phone buzzes in your pocket. You instinctively reach to check it, but it can wait until you park. These are eight statistics to read before you text and drive because they'll change how you view your time on the road.

Everyone's made the mistake of looking at their phone while in the driver's seat, but not everyone gets home safely afterward. Learn why it's better to avoid distracted driving so you don't become one of these statistics this year:

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Have An Eating Disorder And I Refuse To Let It Kill Me

Even at my lowest, the number on the scale never seemed low enough... but was it ever worth the risk of losing my life?

2134
Trigger warning: This article discusses topics that may be triggering for some readers.

I looked down at my thumb today. I know haven't been eating enough. I told everyone I would get all my vitamins and calories in. I totally wanted to eat more of the guacamole I bought the other day, but I counted what I had eaten and those numbers seemed a little too high. I decided I didn't need the extra helping, so I went to bed and the guacamole went bad.

Keep Reading... Show less

When pursuing a degree that most deem 'useless' or a 'waste of time' there happens to be a lot of self-doubt and fear, especially with the pending doom of graduation around the corner. I remember when I was about to graduate from college with a Bachelor's in Acting, I was absolutely terrified.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

TikTok Made Me Buy It: Flawless's Skincare Fridge

I bought and tested one of TikTok's popular products so you don't have to.

101940

I spend a lot of time on TikTok and I never know whether the products I see are worth it or not, especially when I'm looking at the price. For Christmas, my aunt got me a gift card to Ulta. I didn't know what to buy. I have way too many palettes and lipsticks. I have my essentials. What else could I need? Then it hit me that I saw a lot of people these past few months showing off their skincare fridges. So, the second I thought of it I went on the Ulta app and bought it. So, here are my thoughts.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

37 Cute And Unique Pinterest Board Titles

Let's be real, the hardest part about Pinterest is thinking of a cute title for your board.

54011

I don't know about anyone else but I have recently become re-obsessed with Pinterest. Like, I am spending a stupid amount of time on Pinterest daily now. While I have been binging Pinterest I have found that I love making cute and aesthetic boards but it is SO hard to come up with a name to match it. So, I scoured the internet and my brain for you. Happy pinning!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

This Is What Type Of Person You Are Based On Your Favorite Cereal

Your cereal preference reveals more than you think.

34049
Photo by Nyana Stoica on Unsplash

Whether you eat cereal for breakfast or a late-night snack, you probably have a favorite. Little did you know that what you prefer says a lot about your personality.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments