A college student should never have to choose between getting enough sleep, getting good grades or having a social life. The reality is that due to varying reasons such as not balancing school life and other life demands, procrastination, bad prioritization etc. college students fall into the pit of staying up at night to cram or get school work done.
College students may work during the day and attend classes in the evening, have a family to tend to or other life demands. It is a curse to say that college students are sleep deprived. It is college students who don’t know how to manage their lives that are sleep deprived.
Research shows that adults need an average of 7-9 hours of sleep per night. Some people may tell you that they may need less to function but here is where deterioration of health starts taking place. Here is a diagram below of the age range of individuals and the amount of sleep required.
Disadvantages of Sleep Deprivation For College Students:
- Lacking concentration to focus on studies.
- Sleeping in classes.
- Poor reasoning and problem-solving skills.
- Cause forgetfulness when you are doing tests or everyday activities.
- Gaining weight.
- Impairments in judgments.
- Falling into depression.
- Poor academic performance.
- Easily irritated and moody.
- Weakened immune system.
- Quicker aging.
- Lack of motivation to do anything.
Other Health Issues
- Heart Disease.
- High Blood Pressure.
- Heart Failure.
- Risk of Death.
- Heart Attack.
How To Get Enough Sleep During The Night
1. Turn off the lights
To maximize on the amounts of sleep that you get as a student you will want to turn off all forms of a light source. This is inclusive of computer and cell phones. Gadgets have no place when it is time for sleep.
When the light is on it mimics the sun’s brightness and is telling the brain that it is still time to be up and active, and this makes it even harder to fall asleep. If you are in a college dorm you can have black curtains hanged around your bed or side of the room and wear an eye mask.
2. Start winding down 30 minutes before bedtime.
Winding down can be as simple as going to brush your teeth, take a bath, putting on your pajamas, ensuring that your bed is comfortable to sleep in and putting away all school-related work. Getting into a relaxed mood, locking out the noise from your space, read a book or just listen to some calming music. This will help you to fall asleep easily by the time it reaches the scheduled time for sleep that you have.
If you have something on your mind that is preventing you from falling asleep, get up write it down, and put your mind at ease by deciding that you will deal with it the next day. This may take five minutes but it is better than tossing all night being worried.
3. Have comfy clothes and bed.
Going to bed in something that is comfortable will make you feel relaxed and want to fall asleep. Wearing regular clothes like jeans can feel course on the body. If there is a chill pulling on some sock can make your feet warm and helps to regulate body temperature.
Ensure your Bed is comfortable because if this is not so you may feel as though you are laying on an ice cold brick. Use comforters/blankets if the time is cold or thin sheets if hot so that you can sleep throughout the night.
4. Have a routine
Having a routine helps a student to be less anxious about when he or she goes to bed or falling asleep. This biological rhythm or sleep-wake cycle is all dependent on you being consistent in going to bed at a set time every night and getting up at the same time in the morning.
You will find that you will not need to wake yourself up in the mornings or always have to set the alarm but that your body will alert you that you are at the time period that you need to get up when you have a routine.
5. Make a schedule and get organized.
Making a schedule can be a difficult task. It means having a timetable that you are able to follow outlining things to be accomplished throughout the day with set time periods. This will help you to prioritize more effectively. It will limit procrastination and so you will have more than enough time to sleep when you allow time to get your school work done.
You have to manage your time wisely and having time to sleep on a schedule is very important. Below is an example of my timetable for this term. I did not include weekends but that’s mainly for relaxing, church, going out, doing chores and catching up. A pretty tight schedule for this semester.
|5-7||Assignment #1||Assignment #2||Assignment #3||Assignment #4||Assignment #5|
|7-8:30||Ready and Travel||Ready and Travel||Ready and Travel||Ready and Travel||Ready and Travel|
|8:30-5||Fieldwork Experience and classes||Fieldwork Experience and classes||Fieldwork Experience and classes||Fieldwork Experience and classes||Fieldwork Experience and classes|
|5-6||Club Meeting||Go to the Gym||Free Time||Go to the Gym||Home and Eat-light meal|
|6-7||Home and Eat-light meal||Home and Eat-light meal||Home and Eat-light meal||Home and Eat-light meal||Shower and Devotion|
|7-8||Shower and Devotion||Shower and Devotion||Shower and Devotion||Shower and Devotion||Free Time|
6. Avoid coffee, energy drinks, and alcohol
Caffeine is a stimulant that is found in coffee, some chocolate, teas, sodas, and other energy drinks. They are made to keep you alert and on the go. It is best not to consume these beverages 7 hours before bedtime and best if not consumed any at all as a student. I will not give a lecture but these will reduce the quality of sleep that you get and make you still feel tired in the mornings.
7. Don’t eat heavy meals before bed
It is best not to eat within two-three hours of your scheduled bedtime. This will cause feelings of uneasiness. Be careful of spicy foods as it may cause heartburn and prevent you from resting well. When the food is digesting throughout the night it causes you to feel tired in the morning and give a light night’s rest.
8. Get regular exercise
It is good to do some form of exercise during the day. Whilst a good workout can put your body at ease and in a relaxed state to make you even feel tired and want to sleep.
Ensure that this is done at least two hours before bedtime because it may hinder you from sleeping when the body has not gone back to its relaxed state after a workout. It will definitely increase your energy level for the day
Benefits of Getting Enough Sleep
- Better overall health.
- Reduce stress
- You will be happier.
- Boost memory.
- Feel less pain.
- Less risk for injury.
- Better weight control.
- Stronger immune system.
- Helps you to live longer.
- Sharpen attention.
- Better grades and productivity.
- Reduce the risk of depression.
The best hours to sleep is before the hour of 12 pm. It has been researched that every hour of sleep before 12 or midnight amount to two hours of rest after midnight. Personally, I go to bed at 8 pm in the nights and get up at 3 am to start my day. Here I receive 7hrs of sleep and feel much rested because I got the hours before 12 pm which is best.
Before I reach class at 8 in the morning I use the most productive part of the day to do my school work when my brain is fresh and alert. The tiring evening at the end of my day, which is 5 pm is for rest and relaxation.
Make a schedule that is suiting for you and remember to make time for sleep which should be at least 7 hours.
I sure do hope that you will be better able to have restful nights as you practice some of the techniques shared. All it takes is some tweaking of your schedule and lifestyle habits.
When my friends try to get me to talk about completing school work in the nights, am fast asleep because they were done before I even left the house in the morning. One of my favorite saying to them is “Night is made for sleep and the day for work. “
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