Catch More Zzz's

Although my parents laugh at me when I complain I'm exhausted after sleeping in past 10:00, studies have proven that college students need more sleep.  

A study done at the University of Cincinnati took 197 college students, 130 girls and 67 boys who were all either freshmen or sophomores, and noted the amount of sleep they got over a 24-hour span.  Among that group of students, 24% felt they were getting adequate amounts of sleep, 54.8% were sleeping for less than 7 hours and 20.8% slept more than 8 hours a night.   

Despite the arguably decent statistics, the study showed that there were many factors preventing these students from getting a good night's sleep.  For instance, many of them have jobs on campus, stress about money, lack time management skills or were too overwhelmed with homework and exams.  By not sleeping a proper amount, a student's memory and concentration are effected, which has a bad effect on their performance in school.

In addition, there are many other negative effects on one's body from not getting enough sleep.  According to The University Health Center at the University of Georgia the physical and emotional factors are as follows:
  • -More illness, such as colds and flu, due to a lowered immune system
  • -Feeling more stressed out
  • -Increased weight gain and obesity
  • -Lower GPA and decreased academic performance
  • -Increased mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety
  • -Increased automobile accidents due to fatigue caused by "drowsy driving"
  • -Decreased performance in athletics and other activities that require coordination

The best way to prevent these issues is to get a least 7-9 hours of sleep each night.  It is essential to regulate a sleep schedule so that your body continues functioning in a healthy, productive manner.  The University of Cincinnati also provided a few other suggestions to lead to a good night's sleep:
-Don't drink caffeine, alcohol or nicotine within an hour of bedtime
-Don't do rigorous exercise within an hour of bedtime
-Try to take only 15 minute naps throughout the day, rather than longer ones (easier said than done...)
-Only use your bed for sleeping, not studying or doing homework
-Try to keep bed time and wake time as consistent as possible

With that being said, sweet dreams!


Hi Kate! I'm with you on your first comment. I think 10am feels like the crack of dawn too, especially since I've come to college, and my parents don't let me hear the end of it. It's nice to see some evidence supporting the idea that college students need more sleep, but I'm not sure that you can go so far as to say that "studies have proven" it. I am saying this because of the way the University of Cincinnati study was run. When you say that "24% felt they were getting adequate amounts of sleep," it sounds to me like the researchers gathered this information through a survey as a part of an observational study. The fact that the students are reporting how they feel introduces possible response bias. It is unlikely that each one of the students has the same definition of "enough." Though the idea that college students need more sleep seems plausible, I would be more convinced by a supporting conclusion of a randomized, controlled experiment. Maybe the control group would be told to get 8 hours of sleep, the other groups would be told to get other amounts of sleep, and all groups would report how they felt in the morning. Even then, since it cannot be double blind, there cannot be a placebo control, there are no standard metrics, and (of course) there is always the possibility of chance, it would be extremely difficult to "prove." Anyway, I really like your tips for getting a good amount of sleep. Here are some more helpful hints!

Hi Katie! I found this post very relatable to my current situation, it is currently 4:08am and I am still awake doing homework. My sleeping time has taken a big hit as a college student and I couldn't tell you the last time I received eight hours of sleep. I do believe that in order to properly function and be a productive member of society we do need to get a certain amount of sleep, however with exams and extracurriculars it is not always easy to meet this standard. I am a big believer in power naps and would consider a 30 minute nap to be just enough to keep me going throughout the day. I do however have to agree with Amanda that the amount of sleep we need cannot really be proven. I believe everyone is different, some people can function perfectly on 4 hours of sleep where others need 10 hours just to avoid falling asleep at the wheel. For example my father and older brother are shift workers and have developed poor sleeping habits throughout the years, however both can perform their jobs to the best of their abilities on four hours sleep, where as someone like my mother will not be able to function throughout the day unless she gets her eight hours. Overall I think it depends on the person, but I would agree with you that college students do not receive enough sleep and this does have some serious side effects. I also appreciated your helpful tips and will be putting them to use!

Hey Katie! I also found this post very easy to relate to, this week especially, when I have a million things to get done. As a senior this year, I feel as though I have had more experience with trying to balance sleep and life and ultimately, sleep should always win. Any time that I was lacking on sleep for an extended period of time, I became worn down, got sick, saw my grades suffer, became grouchier and the list goes on and on. I believe that while there never seems to be enough hours in the day, sleep should be a priority and it is important to figure out how much you need to function and be a happy member of society. No good ever comes from being exhausted and while you might think you'll get more accomplished, in the end you won't be as productive and put your best work forward. This article from really gets into the risks of not getting enough sleep,

It it always recommended to sleep (at our age) for at least 8-10 hours. While researchig this topic myself I learned that its not even as important to have a lot of hours of sleep but to have a consistent amount of sleep . Meaning if you only can get 7 hours of sleep each night , but its always going to be 7 , its better than if you slept 7 one night , 5 the next , and then 10 hours on the last. There is no such thing as "catching up on sleep" Your body likes consistency and thats when your body will start to feel better !

I always try to get at least 8 hours of sleep you can really feel the difference. Whenever I get significantly less sleep I can never concentrate very well and can see how it could wear away at a person.

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