For college students to maintain a healthy brain function, experts recommend that they get at least seven to nine hours of deep sleep regularly. But not all college students get to have this much sleep regularly and this can greatly impact their cognitive functions, their day to day activities and their studies. Sleep deprivation is prevalent in college students and it can be caused by the following:
Occurs because of the near absence of the circadian rhythm which regulates a person’s period of rest and wakefulness.
Young adults who suffer from depression, chronic pain, heart disease, or schizophrenia commonly experience lack of sleep due to their sickness.
The activities college students get involved in can also affect the quality of their sleep. Balancing their college life and work can also be reducing the amount of time that they can spend on rest and sleep.
Too much gadget use such as computers, televisions, smartphones and gaming devices can cause sleep deprivation. Melatonin, the sleep promoting hormone produced by the pineal gland, gets suppressed by the artificial light produced by gadgets, which makes it difficult to fall asleep.
Taking stimulant drugs can also be another cause for sleep deprivation. Caffeine is a very common stimulant that many college students are sure to be loading up on, especially if they need to stay mentally alert while studying. There are also stimulant medications, which, if overused, can throw off your sleep patterns.
Effects of Sleep Deprivation on College Students
Sleep deprivation can have various effects on a student’s mental and physical well-being. Here are some of them:
Less sleep can lead to lower mental alertness and concentration. If you don’t get enough sleep, you’ll notice that you will have difficulties paying attention or focusing. This makes it difficult to think straight or to perform any activities that involve complex thinking or logical reasoning.
If you don’t get enough sleep, your memory and learning capacity will be impaired. Sleep is essential in helping you retain your memory and recall it in the future.
Slower Physical Reflex
Sleep deprivation can also impact your body’s reaction time. It affects your ability to make split second decisions, thus affecting how your reflex works.
How to Establish Good Sleeping Habits
Sleep is a very important part of our daily life. And as a college student, it is important that you establish a healthy sleeping habit as early as possible, so that it won’t affect your curricular and extracurricular activities. To help you perform well academically, here are some habits that you should consider adopting to be able to build a good sleeping habit.
Follow a Bedtime Routine
One of the best ways to help you condition your mind and body to sleep is by establishing a preparation routine before going to bed. A light dinner, a warm bath, some gadget-free time, and some meditation can help you feel more relaxed.
You don’t have to do any rigorous exercises. As long as you get to do some physical activities, the better it will be in helping you sleep better.
Avoid Long Afternoon Naps
Avoid taking long naps in the afternoon, as this might be your what’s affecting your sleeping patterns in the evening. Instead, try doing some power naps to recharge during the afternoon.
Avoid Technology Before Going to Bed
Don’t wind down with your gadgets. Avoid using your gadgets before going to sleep. Most importantly, don’t use your gadgets to make you feel tired or sleepy as it will only suppress your melatonin. As much as possible, put your phone away from your bed so that you won’t feel like reaching out to it while you are on your bed.
Set a Schedule for Work and College
If you are balancing your time between work and college, see to it that you are still setting enough time between your tasks without sacrificing your time for some rest. Yes, your college and part-time work are important, but so is your health.
Avoid Stimulants at Before Bedtime
Do not drink any caffeinated drinks and other stimulants at least two to three hours before bedtime.
Create a Cozy Bedroom Atmosphere
A comfortable bed and a relaxing atmosphere can help you feel sleepy during bedtime. Lowering the temperature in your room and dimming down the lights can be a good way to prepare your body for bed. It’s also a good time to sleep on a bed that you feel comfortable in.
Sleep deprivation, especially if it’s constant, can have some grave effect on your health and your academic performance. If you want to make the most of your life as a college student, it’s important that you learn how to give your body the chance to rest and recover.