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University Counseling Center

An Ode to Sleep

A recent study found that only 11% of college students report feeling well rested and experiencing quality sleep. Additionally, 73% reported that they had occasional sleep problems. Why think about your sleep habits when you’re busy studying for finals, reading for classes, and making time for your friends? Our brains are like a bank account and when we continuously don’t get enough sleep, a debt starts to accrue which can cause mental and physical problems. Sleep deprivation can cause our immune systems to weaken, irritability, depression, decreased brain functioning and confusion. Additionally, memory problems often result from sleep deprivation. For example, studies show that students who pull all nighters tend to remember material for the test the next day but often need to start from scratch when approaching a final exam or mid-term. So how do you practice good sleep hygiene on campus?

Here are some useful tips:

  • If you share a dorm room or are sensitive to noise invest in a sleep mask and some comfortable ear plugs.
  • Avoid the temptation of using the snooze button because it replaces the quality sleep that comes at the later stages of the sleep cycle with less useful sleep.
  • Use your bed for sleep, sex, and NOTHING else. Trying to get work done on your laptop in bed tricks your body into thinking it should be working when you’re trying to sleep
  • If you find yourself tossing and turning, get out of bed and read a book until you feel tired again. Tossing and turning in bed can create more anxiety and pressure to fall asleep.
  • Avoid taking naps after 3pm. Taking a power nap (less than one hour) can boost your brain functioning, but doing so after 3pm can make it more difficult to get a good night sleep.

For more information go to MedicineNet.com