Don’t Sleep On Sleep

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With finals quickly approaching it is important to understand how to stay ahead in the classroom. Eating right, exercising and staying on top of your work are all vital to success in college. However, there is another important factor in succeeding in school that is often overlooked: sleep.

According to the Journal of Nature and Science of Sleep, roughly 70 percent of college students get insufficient amounts of sleep. Nurse Pam said, “Quality sleep for someone in college is between seven and nine hours a night.”

Quality sleep is so important for college students, because it has a major impact on brain function and ability. Our ability to understand math and express language is increased simply by getting proper amounts of sleep. Also, sleep has an important role to play in memory. Simply put, a good night sleep could be the difference between remembering all of what you studied the night before and just remembering only parts of the information.

Nurse Pam said, “Sleep on it to remember is not just a saying. It is true. When we sleep, information can go from short-term memory to our long-term memory so it is easier to recall when needed. I recommend not staying up all night cramming for a test. Instead, try getting a quality night sleep.” Nurse Pam said. In addition to helping with memory, sleeping between seven and nine hours every night can also help improve attention in the classroom. Lack of sleep causes students to be distracted easier than those with proper amounts of sleep.

In addition to helping students succeed in the classroom, sleep also helps many other aspects of one’s life. Getting proper amounts of sleep can help you lose weight and can also lower stress levels. An adequate amount of sleep also has mental health benefits that can help every college student. According to Nurse Pam, “Not only is there a correlation between lack of sleep and lower grades… sleep also helps other aspects of our lives. Lack of sleep can lead to a lack of motivation, moodiness and irritability. I think getting the proper amount of sleep is just as important as eating right, exercising and not smoking.”

If you are someone that struggles to get a good night of sleep, there are many things you can do to help you improve your quality of sleep. First, do not use technology before going to bed. The bright lights and interactive qualities of phones and computers can stimulate the brain and prevent it from falling asleep. Second, limit caffeine, nicotine, alcohol and large meals at night, as these will keep your body awake longer than it wants. Next, try to create time for relaxing activities before going to sleep. Finally, if you are someone that takes a nap during the day, try to take a short nap that does not interfere with your sleep cycle. If you have time, naps can be very beneficial. Naps have been shown to help your body recharge, eliminate stress, and boost ones overall mood. Nurse Pam said, “Naps should not interfere with your overall sleep cycle, but a 30-90 minute nap can be very useful for students.”

Photo of Nurse Pam. Photo courtesy of Maryville University.
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