Your mom is right - you probably aren’t getting enough
It’s very common for college students to struggle with their sleep patterns. In fact, the average college student is twice as likely to suffer from inadequate sleep as is a member of the general population. In total, less than 15 percent of college students report that they’re consistently well-rested. Even more disturbing is the fact that recent studies have shown that the amount of sleep the average college student gets is decreasing every year.
Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
College students are more active than most other demographics, so they need a lot of sleep. Seven to nine hours per night is needed by most, but few get this much. Many students only get six hours of sleep or less per night.
Night classes, late nights at the bar, pulling all-nighters cramming for exams and anxiety can all prevent a good night’s sleep. Many students think they can get by just fine on little sleep, but they fail to realize the wide-ranging impact it has on their lives. A chronic lack of sleep can lead to more serious problems than feeling sleepy or sluggish; it can also cause:
- An inability to focus your attention.
- Decreased ability to remember information.
- Weight gain.
- Increased susceptibility to illness.
- Lowered motivational drive.
Developing Healthy Sleep Patterns
Some sleep experts argue that the quality of your sleep is even more important than the quantity. If you are waking up many times each night, you aren’t getting good-quality sleep. To improve the quality of your sleep, try these tips:
- Establish a routine. Go through the same exercises every night before bed. If that means watching the Daily Show, drinking a glass of milk and then brushing your teeth, then do that every night that you can. Try to avoid eating in the three hours before you go to bed, as an active digestive system can keep you up.
- Be consistent. Go to bed and wake up at the same time every day.
- Stay hydrated. Drink 8 to 10 cups of water every day. Avoid alcohol - it dehydrates you and can prevent you from entering deep sleep.
- Optimize your room for sleep. Sleep in a silent, dark room (unfortunately, this is not always possible if you live in a dorm room). Open your window a crack to ensure adequate ventilation.
- Stay active. Get exercise during the day, even if it’s just a brisk walk.
- Do your sleeping at night. Though short ones can be helpful, avoid long naps during the day.