College students get an estimated six hours of sleep every night. Juggling between classwork, social life, employment, and other activities often leave them with little time for sleep.
However, like any other human, sleep is of much essence for normal body functioning. Sleep deprivation for college students can affect their health and GPA significantly.
That said, how much sleep is enough for students? High school teenagers should sleep a minimum of eight hours for good health.
On the other hand, college students should get between seven to nine hours of sleep. Sleeping for these hours comes with the following benefits;
Various studies show that students who get a good night’s sleep perform better in class. A research conducted by the University of Georgia concluded that one in every four students who took part in the study attested that sleep affects their grades negatively.
In severe situations, a lack of sleep made them withdraw from the course entirely.
A Scientific Reports journal also showed that students with irregular sleep schedules performed poorly in classwork compared to students with a regular sleeping schedule.
College going students are required to absorb new information daily due to the continuing nature of their studies.
The brain should organize and sort new information during normal sleep cycles.
Therefore, students who get more sleep enjoy efficient brain functioning, which is important in retaining learned information and eliminating irrelevant information.
Good sleep is essential for improved mental well-being. A night of disturbed sleep pattern or lack of enough sleep often makes one irritable, sad, sluggish, and moody the entire day.
Conclusive research has also linked the effects of prolonged sleep deprivation to serious psychological disorders, including anxiety and depression.
Lowers the Risks of Obesity
Most college students find pizza a favorite companion during their evening cramming sessions.
However, the lack of enough sleep leads to the overproduction of the ghrelin hormone, better known as the hunger hormone, which promotes fat storage and increases appetite.
As a result, the body demands high-calorie foods leading to weight gain.
Note that the effects of sleep deprivation on obesity go beyond this.
Getting sufficient sleep leads to increased leptin hormone production, which counters the effects of ghrelin, as it curbs appetite.
Reduces the Chances of Getting Sick
Sleep is an essential contributor to improved immune systems. As such, students with significant sleep deprivation will likely get sick frequently, as their immune systems cannot function optimally.
The body produces proteins known as cytokines, which help prevent frequent sickness and relieve the body from stress. Sleep-deprived students often have diminished cytokines and antibody production, making them more susceptible to infections.
Poor sleeping patterns also affect the recovery time, even when the body has a cold or flu.
Tips to Get Enough Sleep
Lack of enough sleep can affect students’ performance and their health status. Therefore, as getting enough sleep is important, how can students manage this?
Below are some tips to help students enjoy a good night’s rest:
Take Proper Naps
Daytime naps are important in maintaining a regular night sleeping schedule. Similarly, if done wrongly, daytime naps can affect your nighttime sleeping.
Therefore, you should avoid naps if you can, or nap before 4 pm.
A proper nap should last between 20 and 30 minutes to avoid the groggy feeling that comes when someone wakes during a sleep cycle.
Avoid Caffeine and Alcohol
Caffeine is undoubtedly the drink of choice for students, especially as they brace themselves for long study sessions.
However, for better sleep patterns, you should avoid afternoon caffeine. You should also limit alcohol intake as it can misalign your sleeping schedule.
Caffeine can hinder proper sleep for up to eight hours as it increases the brain’s wave activity.
Even if you fall asleep during this period, your sleep will be lighter and less restorative.
Create an Environment that Maximizes Sleep
Apart from the external factors, the ambiance and the prevailing environment have an impact on a student’s good night’s sleep.
Students should create a peaceful and comfortable environment for a relaxing sleep. That said, segment your hostel into a reading and sleeping area.
You should also save up and buy a good mattress that can help your body prepare for quality sleep.
Adequate sleep is among the important aspects of good health. A good night’s sleep allows the brain to rest and recharge, enabling the mind to stay alert and ready for upcoming activities.
Sleep also plays a significant role in growth, immune function, tissue repair and helping protect the body from injuries and illnesses.
Getting good sleep depends on various factors, including a regular sleep/wake cycle, a quiet environment and diet. In most cases, college students find it hard to achieve all this.
Observing the tips mentioned above can come in handy.