Importance of Sleep for College Students

13James Gonzalez (11 AM Micro) has some sound advice for all college students, via an article in Science Daily. I might add that the recommendation also applies to college faculty, who generally feel that they don’t get nearly enough sleep either. Here is James’ summary:

In the modern day society, the importance of education is exemplified throughout the world. With that being said, this puts an enormous amount of pressure on college students to excel in order to get a profession in the field of their choosing when they graduate. The immense pressures of doing well in college are accompanied by a few factors that are essential to being balanced out in order to be successful. A perfect mix of studying and sleeping typically equates to a successful period in college. Although, with constant external factors, such as recreational activities and friends, bearing down on college students, it is sometimes difficult to find the perfect balance.

Recent studies have shown that people who sleep for shorter periods of time and go to bed very late at night are often overwhelmed with more negative thoughts than those who keep more regular sleeping hours. With this recent find, it is apparent that an adequate amount of sleep every night is essential for being successful in college. Getting enough quality sleep at the right times can help protect an individual’s health, physical health, quality of life, and safety. If sleep is beneficial for learning, then it only makes sense to get good quality sleep on a nightly basis. Studies have shown that a good night’s sleep enhances learning, problem solving skills, and creativity. A study at Binghamton University was conducted where 100 young adults were asked to complete a battery of questionnaires and two computerized tasks. This study measured how much the students worry, ruminate, or obsess about something, which all measures an individual repetitive negative thinking. The results revealed that the young adults who got shorter amount of sleep experienced more repetitive negative thoughts than others. This study proves that shorter amounts of sleep at night can be detrimental to an individual. In regards to a college student, getting an inadequate amount of sleep every night can result in repetitive negative thoughts, which is not conducive for higher level thinking.

College students who have poor sleeping patterns and habits can occasionally develop common sleeping disorders. The most frequently reported sleeping disorder is insomnia. Insomnia is characterized as trouble falling asleep, staying asleep during the night, or waking up too early in the morning. Some causes of insomnia include: going to bed at different times of the night, daytime napping, and spending too much time in bed while awake. These causes of insomnia are very common among college students because the time they go to bed always varies and is dependent on the amount of school work they have to do on any given day. If the student doesn’t have any assignments due the next day, then they have the opportunity to get good quality sleep for the night. On the contrary, if the student has an important assignment due the next day, then they are more susceptible to showing characteristics of insomnia. A study was performed that included 1,845 students at a large state university, in which each student filled out a Sleep-50 survey. The results showed that the group of students who had a GPA lower than 2.0 had a higher percentage of individuals at risk for insomnia. This study proves that not getting enough sleep can be disadvantageous for a college student. Although sometimes it feels like a necessity to stay up late and study, studies have proven that the college student will benefit more from getting good quality sleep.

With the studies that were presented, it is apparent that getting an adequate amount of sleep every night is paramount for a college student. It is important for every college student to find the right balance of everything in order to be successful. There are several simple changes to improve an individual’s sleeping habits that may prove to be beneficial. These simple changes consist of: establish a regular sleeping schedule, avoid physical exertion too close to bed time, and make the sleep environment as comfortable as possible. Finding the perfect blend of school work and sleep is imperative for every college student. Every student is unique, therefore each student needs to find what works best for him or her and utilize it to the best of their ability in order to be successful in college.



About ycpmicro

My name is David Singleton, and I am an Associate Professor of Microbiology at York College of Pennsylvania. My main course is BIO230, a course taken by allied-health students at YCP. Views on this site are my own.

Posted on December 8, 2014, in Guest Post. Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on Importance of Sleep for College Students.

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