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What Research Says About the Sleeping Habits of College Students

Written by CB Community

College students are often accused of having the poorest sleep habits.

Far too much of their time is spent staying up to meet assignment deadlines, study, binge watch series, or even party. Research has been conducted on students like you to see if these accusations are true.

Recent studies conducted at Brown University found that about 30% of female students battled with insomnia and this statistic was far higher than that of male students who were found suffering from the same ailment. 

According to the University Health Center, most students get about 6 hours of sleep on average. This is far less than the 8 hours of sleep that is usually recommended. 

Most of the University athletes from this study mentioned feeling overwhelmingly tired from time to time when they were interviewed for further research.

All the studies indicate that students clearly aren’t getting the recommended amount of sleep that they deserve. 

Why Aren’t Students Getting Enough Sleep?

Contrary to what most people believe to be the cause for college student’s lack of sleep,  it’s usually the fact that students work part-time or the fact that they need to learn tons of information for exams that actually keep them awake at night.

While video streaming services can also be blamed for their lack of sleep, college students often moan about college mattresses not being comfortable enough for long hours of sleep. 

Moreover, stress, sleeping with cell phones underneath pillows and irregular sleep patterns can all contribute to lack of sleep among young students.

Using Adderall or energy drinks regularly to help stay awake is also a hindering factor for overall sleep patterns. 

Effects of College Students Sleeping Habits 

Irrespective of the reasons, lack of sleep has negative impacts on students in general. Less sleep means that students cannot pay attention in class and they also have impaired concentration.

Other harmful effects of a lack of sleep are:

  • Mental health problems are found in students who suffer from a lack of sleep
  • A lack of sleep makes it difficult for students to function during the day
  • College students who barely get enough sleep typically get bad grades
  • Students who lack the required amount of sleep suffer from mental health issues
  • A lower GPA was found among students who sleep for only a few hours per night
  • Poor classroom performance is also indicated among students who suffer from a lack of sleep
  • Intolerance for exercise results in a high body mass index

Statistics show that students themselves are actually aware of the fact that pulling an all-nighter before an exam actually lowers their GPA.

Students from the University of Georgia mentioned that a lack of sleep does impact their academic performance, resulting in missed homework tasks and sometimes less sleep even caused them to drop out of university. 

While people blamed bad college mattresses, part-time jobs and other such factors for a lack of sleep, the American Academy of Medicine says that due to the requirements that medical students had, their sleep suffered most in comparison to all other students.

Universities understand how important sleep is for the studying student and most provide some initiative to assist students in getting better sleep habits.

  • Baylor University offers students more credits for doing well in a challenge that they have set. The 8-hour sleep challenge advocates the idea of having a full 8 hours of sleep for better grades.
  • According to the University of Arizona, sleep education and actually tracing sleep patterns improve the overall quality and quantity of sleep.
  • Harvard University is all for students getting the best sleep, they advocate sleep class for students who wish to learn about sleep hygiene and sleeping better.

How Students Can Get a Better Sleep

As you can see, it’s vital for college students to sleep better. The following tips can be followed to ensure that you get better sleep.

  • Go to bed promptly. As a student, many things can deter your attention before bed. Try to avoid distractions by going to bed early and getting the recommended amount of sleep
  • Eat smaller amounts of snacks before bed. Eating too much just before bed can be a major upset. Eat limited amounts of food just before bed.
  • Do not sleep during lectures. Napping during lectures can prevent you from getting the required amount of sleep. Try not to nap during the day either, so you can get proper sleep at night.
  • Go easy on caffeine. For that burst of energy, it’s easy to resort to a caffeine shot. Drinking caffeine can mean that for many hours your system is on alert mode. This will make it much harder for you to fall asleep.
  • Relax. Before bed, it is important to take a little time to relax and just breathe. Put away the cell phone and any other distractions so you can be calm before bed.
  • The bed is meant for sleeping. Try not to use it to study or for anything else other than sleeping.

A good mattress within college dorms for each student could seriously assist with sleep problems but until college mattresses improve these steps will surely help.

If you feel that you face insomnia or a sleep problem, advisably seek help immediately.

As a student, a good night’s rest means performing better during the day. Keep this in mind and catch your forty winks.  

About the author

CB Community

Passionate members of the College Basics community that include students, essay writers, consultants and beyond. Please note, while community content has passed our editorial guidelines, we do not endorse any product or service contained in these articles which may also include links for which College Basics is compensated.