Story & Photo by Ahmya Williams
Co-Editor in Chief
Class, homework, work and repeat. This is a typical day in the life of most college students, and this does not include the student athletes or the clubs and organizations in which a student may participate. College students have full days and nights of school and work. When is there time to get enough rest?
The average amount of sleep required for adults is seven to nine hours. Getting an adequate amount of sleep each night is just one essential element to maintaining a properly functioning body. Many college students have had at least one incident of sleep deprivation.
Hunter Snow, a nursing student in his second year at Rose State, is also a shift manager at a restaurant and normally works 40-50 hours a week. Snow said he sleeps about four to five hours daily. He noticed being a full time manager and student has affected his sleep schedule.
“I have pulled many ‘all-nighters’ to stay up and study for my exam or finish homework because I was at work,” he said. Psychology Professor Richard Wedemeyer explained how lack of sleep can negatively affect the body and daily life
“Sleep deprivation may be the most pervasive health problem contributor that we face,’’ Wedemeyer said. “Not getting enough quality sleep easily causes us to be moody, short-tempered and causes us to make more mistakes, including omitting steps, making careless errors, and it impairs our learning and decision-making. Lack of sleep also causes us to gain weight and then suffer additional consequences.”
Snow also mentioned how his lack of sleep could be affecting his body negatively.
“I’m always trying to drink energy drinks and coffee,” he said.
The amount of sugar and calories most energy drinks and coffee contain can cause weight gain and can be unhealthy.
Wedemeyer can relate to being a sleep deprived college student.
“I was particularly stressed during a period in the ‘80s when I was working two jobs and going to school four nights a week,” he said, “My sleep suffered then much as it does for many students now who are working and going to school while also attempting a social life.”
Many college students today work at least one job while going to school full time, and trying to keep a social life is just as hard as trying to get enough sleep.
“It seems that our culture has presented us with the notion that doing a lot is somehow valuable, a reward in itself,” Wedemeyer said. “It is easy to reach a point wherein quality sleep is sacrificed.”
While it may feel good to get a lot accomplished daily, it is also essential to one’s health to get enough rest.
“I think it is important to recognize that nightly sleep – long enough and of the right structure – is as important as any health initiative in self-care,” Wedemeyer said. He also outlined ways to try to get good rest at night. “There are many sleep hygiene recommendations that can assist this, such as making a routine of the rituals surrounding bedtime, not drinking alcohol or caffeine within four hours of bedtime, leaving your phones and TVs off, and so on.”
There are many other tips to try to achieve proper rest at night. Going to bed and waking up around the same time every day will help set the internal clock and help with having better sleep at night. Keeping a regular wake to sleep cycle will keep a good routine for your brain and body to know when it is time to get rest.
Taking a nap anytime after 3 p.m. would cause someone to stay up later throughout the night and create an irregular sleep schedule. It is also best to avoid doing homework or studying in bed. Keeping the bed as a place just to sleep will make it easier to get rest.
Listening to soft music or nature sounds can help with falling asleep, these sounds can help calm the brain, which makes it easier to fall asleep. Making a to-do list before going to bed will help get rid of worrying thoughts on the brain so rest at night can be easier to come by.
Allowing an adequate amount of rest each night will improve physical and mental health. Sleep is one of the best forms of self-care.
“We are mammals after all, and so it is our destiny to spend a third of our lives sleeping,” Wedemeyer said.