College students have so many things to juggle along with trying to maintain a social life. Sleep is what gets cut down because the other tasks seem much more important.So what is the cause of all the sleepy eyes on West Chester’s campus?
It is merely a combination of loaded school schedules, part time jobs or full time jobs, sports, clubs, organizations, homework and socialization.
Being sleep deprived is almost synonymous with being a college student with so many things to do and not enough time to do it and a lot of people cut sleep out of their schedule.
“I usually get about 5-6 hours of sleep because I have so much going on and the time I should sleep is used as down time to talk and hang with friends which I don’t get to do during the day,” second -year student Danielle Gilliam said.
With all the studying, classes, and partying, sleep deprivation and college students go hand in hand.
“I’m usually worried or anxious and have all these thoughts running through my head when I lay down, I have studying or schoolwork on my mind not to mention financial problems,” third- year student Nicole said.
Most people need six to eight hours of sleep each night to function properly. However, studies have proven, approximately 20 percent of college students suffer from sleeping disorders such as insomnia.
Researchers said “College students who suffer from sleep disorders can experience irritability, anxiety and even weight gain and a body without proper rest will not operate at its optimum performance.”
Not enough shut-eye can face long-term problems beyond grogginess. Seizure, stroke and heart attacks are possible consequences of sleep deprivation.
To avoid the disruption of the sleep cycle here are tips for a Good Night’s Sleep provided by www.sju.edu/healthinfo.htm:
Keep regular bedtime/waking hours: Your body has a circadian clock (24-hr) that thrives on routine. Having a consistent, realistic bedtime hour and wake time will help you feel your best – including in areas of learning, memory, alertness, and performance.
Create a bedtime ritual: Take 1 hour before going to bed to relax – read a light book or magazine for pleasure, watch part of a movie, take a shower, listen to soothing music. Avoid heavy studying or computer games.
Avoid long naps: Sleeping during the day for long periods of time will continue to disrupt your sleep pattern – leading to a vicious cycle. A short nap during the day could be helpful, but work it into one’s regular schedule. Keep the nap to about 30 minutes and do it at the same time daily.
Avoid all-nighters: While all-nighters and late-night study sessions may appear to give you more time to cram, they are also likely to drain your brainpower.
Do not rely on catch-up: The urge to rely on weekend catch-up as a way of “averaging out” total sleep for the week may be strong. However, the catch-up game impacts your sleep pattern, which can lead to another vicious cycle and can make for a very unpleasant Monday morning.
Exercise daily: Regular exercise improves the quality of your sleep. However, do not exercise too close to bedtime.
Avoid caffeine & nicotine in the evening: Caffeine and nicotine are stimulants, which disrupt sleep. It is best to stay away from them after lunch-time.
Practice time management in regards to schoolwork: Worrying in bed about the next day or week can keep you from falling asleep for hours. Try to stay on top of one’s school work as a way of decreasing one’s overall stress and worry. In addition, mentally plan for the next day before getting into bed. Journaling before bed is another helpful technique.
Minimize sleep disruptions with a dark, quiet room: Do not fall asleep with the TV on – flickering light and stimulating content can inhibit falling and staying asleep. Utilize a small fan to mask noise. Ear-plugs and a sleep mask are alternatives.
Expose self to bright light in the morning: The light acts as a signal to the brain to “wake up.”
Ronni Cain is a third-year student majoring in English with a minor in journalism. She can be reached at RC631645@wcupa.edu