Most Americans aren’t getting enough sleep. This trend is seen even more so in college students because they are torn between going to class and doing the required coursework and having fun.
That newfound freedom can make some people get a little crazy. Before you know it, you’ve been up and it’s 3:00 am. And you have a class at 8:00 the next morning. Your choice then becomes, to get a full night’s sleep or to actually go to class. If you skip, your performance and grade can suffer. This is an all too common scenario and the result is a classroom full of hung over or sleepy students.
Of course, this isn’t the only reason why students lose sleep. Procrastination is also rampant on college campuses across the country. When you have a ten page report to write and you waited until the day before it is due, chances are you won’t be sleeping much the night before. This is also true when cramming for quizzes and exams. It’s doubtful that so many students work so late at night when they should be sleeping. It’s even less likely that they like it that way. But that’s the way things are done.
Additionally, when the weekend comes, parties and clubbing could keep you up all night, messing up your sleep schedule even more. If you stay up on an average Saturday night until 4:00 in the morning, and you get a full night’s sleep, you’ll be waking up around noon or one the next day. So, you’ll be ready for bed way later than usual on Sunday night, making you extra tired come class time Monday morning.
Work can also play a big part in why students don’t get enough sleep. A lot of students work, at least part time, while they’re in school to pay for living expenses. Your school and work schedule can work together to keep you exhausted and sleep deprived.
This is the norm for most students, but it doesn’t have to be this way. College allows you the freedom to set your own schedule. If you know that you frequently stay up late at night and end up being really tired in class, or even worse, too tired to go to class, then you should sign up for afternoon or evening classes. And if you work, you should also make sure that you can work while giving yourself enough time to rest up and attend you are able to do well in your classes.
Sleep is important, for both your physical as well as your mental health. Sleep helps with healing as well as repairing your blood vessels and heart. If you experience too much sleep loss could increase your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke, kidney disease, or diabetes.
Even though sleep is often postponed for other activities, you want to be sure that you make time for at least eight hours a day. Even though consecutive sleep is healthier, if you can’t manage that, you should at least nap between classes to reach a comfortable rested level
In case you didn’t realize, here are some reasons why sleep is so important, aside from the ones mentioned above.
- Productivity – If you don’t have energy because you’re sleep deprived, it could lower your productivity level. You may be unmotivated to complete even simple tasks. In fact, studies show that each year 11.3 days of work are lost due to loss of productivity. If you are able to sleep, you’re more productive and able to complete tasks quicker plus they will have better quality.
- Reaction – If you’re sleepy, your reaction time is reduced. No matter if you’ve completed a task successfully, if you’re sleepy you may not be able to do the task as well. Getting sleep will increase your reaction time.
- Memory – Lack of sleep can be hazardous to your ability to remember things you already know or learn new information. Getting sufficient sleep will help you commit newly learned information to memory.
- Stress – Not getting enough sleep can lead to stress, anxiety, and emotional outbursts. On the other hand, if you get enough sleep, stress and anxiety are reduced, and you’re able to better handle frustrations.
- Depression – Lack of sleep can increase your risk of developing depression. Alternatively, getting one extra hour of sleep at night can increase your happiness level by quite a bit.
- Communication – It may be difficult to control your emotions if you’re tired, which could mean relationships will suffer. Getting enough sleep, or at least more, could help save your relationships.
- Impulses – People who are tired may be less likely to control their impulses. It may lead to making poor decisions. However, getting enough sleep can keep you from making bad decision.
- Fitness – Sleep is important to help you stay fit. It will allow you the energy to exercise which promotes cardiovascular health. Remember, even when having a dedicated workout schedule, it is important to have a balance between resting and being actively involved with working out.
- Muscles – As muscles rest, they build new tissue and recuperate from the previous day’s activities. In other words, sleeping will increase the results of your regular workouts. Rest is important because overworking muscles will begin to deteriorate.
- Skin – If you’re not sleeping well, you may begin to look tired and worn out. Perhaps you’ll develop bags and dark circles under your eyes. Getting enough sleep helps nutrients go toward your skin and helps you look better.
- Weight – Not sleeping can cause your body to keep energy which is stored as body fat. This is why people who don’t get enough sleep often experience issues losing weight. Lack of sleep can also lead to craving sugary and fat-laden foods.
- Pain – Lack of sleep increases the sensitivity to pain. Adequate sleep, on the other hand, decreases pain sensitivity and improves the ability to handle it. Sleep is also needed to help the body recover from injuries.
- Sex – Research studies explain that getting the needed amount of sleep can also lead to having a better sex live.
- Sickness – When you increase the amount of sleep you get on a regular basis; you will reduce the risk of getting serious illnesses including colds and flus. Sleeping boosts your immune system and helps it to run smoothly so you are protected.
- Headaches – Not getting enough sleep may be to blame for the number of headaches you experience because brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin are imbalanced. Getting plenty of sleep can help reduce headaches and migraines.
- Diabetes – If you’re sleepy all of the time, the body will look for other sources of energy: refined sugar. Those with sleep disorders often experience high blood sugar which can develop into diabetes if lack of sleep becomes chronic.
- Cancer – Reduced sleep means that the immune system is disrupted. This can lead to widespread inflammation increasing your risk of developing cancer. Getting sufficient sleep increases the hormone melatonin that acts an antioxidant which can prevent and reverse cellular damage contributing to cancer.
Here are some products that may help college students, and others, get more sleep. You’ll find links for natural sleeping aids, sleeping masks, and books about sleep.
Natural Sleeping Aids
1. ZzzQuil Pure Zzzs De-Stress & Sleep Melatonin Gummies, 42 ct, with Ashwagandha, Chamomile, Lavender
These gummies, by ZzzQuil, are not habit forming and will not cause grogginess the next day. They contain melatonin and other medicinal herbs which will help you get to sleep and wake up ready to face the day ahead.
2. Sleep Doctor PM | Night Time Formula | Advanced Sleep Aid Support for Adults | Sleep Spray Formulated by Dr. Michael Breus – America’s Sleep Doctor
Sleep Doctor PM and Night Time Formula contain all-natural, organic ingredients including Valerian Root, Magnolia Bark, and Magnesium. They help you fall asleep fast to reduce the effects of stress, anxiety, and deficiencies contributing to restless sleep.
3. Genius Sleep AID – Smart Sleeping Pills & Adrenal Fatigue Supplement, Natural Stress, Anxiety & Insomnia Relief – Relaxation Enhancer and Mood Support w/Inositol, L-Theanine & Glycine- 40 Capsules
The Genius Brand Sleep Aid is 40 capsules that will help you fall asleep faster, sleep better, and help you wake up restored. The natural sleep aid is non-habit forming and will help combat adrenal fatigue.
1. MZOO Sleep Eye Mask for Men Women, 3D Contoured Cup Sleeping Mask & Blindfold with Ear Plug, Concave Molded Night Sleep Mask, Block Out Light, Soft Comfort Eye Shade Cover for Travel Yoga Nap, Black
The MZOO Sleep Eye Mask is made from rebound memory foam that is soft and comfortable. There is no pressure on the eyes. The fabric will never stain your sheets or pillows. It fits all head circumferences and is fully adjustable.
2. Sleep Headphones Bluetooth Eye Mask, Joseche Wireless Bluetooth 5.0 Headphones Music Travel Sleeping Headphones, Handsfree Sleeping Mask with Built-in Speakers, Microphone, Washable (Black)
These Joseche Sleep Headphones Mask provides stereo sound with thin speakers, so they are comfortable for sleepers. The battery play time is more than 9 hours. It blocks the light to help you go to sleep but allows you to listen to music without a second set of headphones.
Books about Sleep
1. Sleep Smarter: 21 Essential Strategies to Sleep your Way to a Better Body, Better Health, and Bigger Success
This book by Shawn Stevenson is 288 pages. It offers tips and tricks to help you sleep better. It is the ultimate guide to getting better sleep, feeling refreshed, and having a healthier life.
Matthew Walker, Ph.D. is a leading expert for sleep. The book reveals the groundbreaking exploration of sleep, explains ways to harness its transformative power in our lives. The book is 368 pages and is also available in audiobook.
This book, by Gregg Jacobs, is a 256 page book that includes a six-week program to help you overcome insomnia without using drugs. The program was developed and tested at Harvard Medical School.