College students are not getting enough sleep, according to Mary A. Carskadon of Brown University. She does sleep research, and she concludes that students and their parents should be re-educated to know that good sleep means better grades, personal safety, and good health.
As adolescents age, they tend to stay up about 90 minutes later at night than younger teens, but they still need just as much sleep. Carskadon recommends 8 and ½ hours of sleep per night, each and every night! How many of you are getting that much sleep?
There are several factors that cause students to sleep less in college. One is that they study into the night. Away from home, they lose their established routines and stay up later. Also tweeting or facebooking, even texting, stimulates them which, in turn, causes them to keep later hours. Both the light from their computers and phones, as well as the social interaction, keeps them awake even when they are tired. On top of all this, college students are used to using coffee and other energy drinks to keep awake so they can do more work.
Students need their sleep because their brains are still growing. More importantly, the brain is fine tuning itself in young adulthood. Neural connections are re-worked or forged, especially to develop planning, abstract thinking, and organization skills.
College-age students who don’t get enough sleep often do poorly in their course work, may drink more alcohol, have a tendency to depression, and can be less healthy.
Of course, safety is always affected with a lack of sleep, from falling asleep at the wheel to engaging in any physical activity with impaired reactions.
College students need sleep.
- Schedule your classes so you don’t have to get up early in the morning
- Plan to reduce stimuli in the evening
- Set a time to go to bed to get enough sleep each day and, then, stick to it.
And, parents, you should reinforce these habits whenever you can.