How students can get better sleep

Mayce Bacon

Mayce Bacon, Staff Reporter

Your schedule is always busy as a college student. You either have class to get to, homework to work on or somewhere to be for extra-curricular activities. When you have so much to do, cuts have to be made. Perhaps you won’t eat lunch one day or maybe that homework that’s due tomorrow is forgotten, but usually sleep is what gets cut.

Sherry Carstens, campus nurse, stated that college students should be getting between six to eight hours of sleep a night. However, this is not true for everyone as we function the best on different amounts of sleep.

Anthony Liguori, associate professor of psychology, said that if you want to find out the hours of sleep you need per night, you should go to a dark room with no TV or phone and fall asleep, not getting up until you feel completely awake and rested. If you do this for about a week, you will be able to determine how much sleep you actually need.

One thing Liguori and Carstens suggested was having a routine. You should awake every day at the same time and avoid napping during the day. Your bed should only be used for sleeping, meaning no studying or watching TV should take place there. Just sleep.

Carstens emphasized that before bed you should “just chill” for awhile. She suggested a hot shower or something that will help you decompress but doesn’t stimulate your mind too much. Carstens also suggested soft music or nature sounds for those who need noise to fall asleep.

If you need a little more encouragement for your body, something like benadryl or melatonin could help you become tired and drift off. You should also always be aware of how much caffeine you intake as caffeine can have a negative impact on your sleeping ability.

If you are able to get a routine down and get the rest your body needs, Liguori said that you will not need your alarm clock anymore. You will actually awake before your alarm goes off.

Both Carstens and Liguori agreed that not getting enough sleep is detrimental to your health, both physical and mental. Symptoms include loss of concentration, queasiness, headaches, delayed reaction times and even impaired driving. “Drowsy driving has many similarities to drunk driving,” Liguori said.

Over time, not getting enough sleep can cause serious problems and depression. Carstens warned about chronic insomnia. If you cannot get your sleep schedule back to a normal level within one to two weeks, you should seek help from a medical or counseling professional to determine why you are having so many problems.

“Save the late nights for the weekends,” Carstens said. “Sunday through Thursday be sure to take care of yourself.”

Sleep is important, and abstractly we can all agree on this, but when faced with the facts of how important sleep is and how terrible things can be without, are you prepared to make a change?

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