How important is sleep for college students?
According to the University of Georgia’s Health Center, seven to eight hours of sleep is what college students need and should get.
Students who get less than six hours of sleep are more likely to feel tired, stressed and sad.
Students who suffer from loss of sleep have lower GPAs and academic performance, are more prone to car accidents due to fatigue and do not perform as well athletically.
However, the results of a small, informal survey of WCC students showed that eight out of 10 students get fewer than eight hours a sleep on a typical school night.
“I’d say four hours a night, in between waking up a bunch of times over stress,” student Kaylene Higa said.
One reason why college students might get insufficient sleep is because they stay up late studying.
“I study better at night because it’s quieter, and there’s not much to distract me,” Higa said. Others say nighttime is when they feel most alert and fully awake.
However, staying up late may not be productive.
A study by the National Sleep Foundation showed that the typical adult’s strongest sleep drive occurs between 2 and 4 a.m.
During this time, the brain is recharging and retaining information and is in its deepest sleep, giving it the best chance to recharge for the next day.
Many students said they feel most productive studying during the day. “I study better in the afternoon because at night I’m already tired only thinking about sleep and won’t put as much focus and effort into what I am working on,” student Arron Yamashita said.
Regardless of when students sleep at night, taking naps during the day can also help recharge the brain.
Student An-geliq Kane said, “Taking naps is effective for me because I get to refresh my brain and focus more.”
The Huffington Post article “13 Tips for the Best Nap Ever,” which references the book “Take a Nap!” by psychology professor and nap researcher Sara Mednick, reports that if you’re an early riser who gets up at 5 a.m., it would be best to nap around 1 p.m.
Or if you tend to sleep in until 9 a.m, the best time for a nap would be after 3 p.m.
There are other ways student can improve their sleep habits.
The Huffington Post article suggests the following: Don’t use electronics before bed. Set an alarm each night at an appropriate time. And lastly, exercise throughout the day, giving your body time to relax and unwind.
by Danielle Springel, Special to Ka ‘Ohana