By: Veronica Maniak
With the start of a new school year upon us, it might be difficult for students to fall back into a routine after a laid-back summer. This includes getting back into the habit of a regular sleep schedule and ensuring that you get enough sleep each night. But why is this important? What is so great about sleep in the first place? It’s time we identified the facts behind catching some quality Zzz’s.
Getting a good night’s sleep has positive effects on memory and students’ performance in school. It also lowers your risk of obesity and decreases your chances of getting sick or catching a cold. Students who don’t maintain a regular sleep schedule often find themselves in a sluggish and irritable state and are more likely to perform poorly in class compared to those who were not sleep deprived.
So, what IS the recommended amount of sleep that college students should get each night? In general, college students should get seven to nine hoursof sleep each night. Of course, this does not include the time spent on your phone in bed before you fall asleep. This is actually a huge factor in students’ “sleep efficiency”, which is the total time spent in bed compared to time spent sleeping.
Here are some things you can do to maximize your time spent sleeping, and get better sleep:
Avoid consuming caffeine after 4pm
Although caffeinated beverages are often go-to’s for student study sessions or all-nighters, they can impact sleep for up to eight hours after consumption due to increased brain wave activity.
Shut off electronics 30 minutes before bed
The blue light our phones, laptops, and TV’s emit can affect melatonin levels in our bodies and trick your brain into thinking it’s daytime, making it more difficult to fall asleep.
Don’t sleep in on weekends
It might be tempting to “catch up” on sleep during the weekends, but this generally only worsens ones’ sleep patterns. Although getting an extra hour of sleep on the weekend is okay, keeping your sleep/wake schedules consistent will help your body in the long run.
Practice time management with your school work
Staying on top of homework and studying during the day will not only decrease your overall stress, but also reduce last minute cramming and all-nighters. You can also spend some technology-free time journaling or mentally mapping your plan for the next day before getting into bed.
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