Sleep deprivation and being a college student go hand-in-hand.
Many college students believe that they can function on very little sleep because they are young and full of energy. However, prolonged sleep deprivation, such as pulling all-nighters, can lead to mental and physical health issues, including impaired memory, compromised learning, depression, and moodiness. Unfortunately, these risks can lead to lower grades and an increased risk of academic failure.
According to an article published by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), 60% of college students report feeling "dragging, tired, or sleepy" at least three days a week, and more than 80% say that lack of sleep negatively affects their grade point average (GPA).
"Students rank sleep problems second only to stress and anxiety in factors that negatively impact academic performance."1 — nih.gov
Many colleges are taking steps to address the issue of sleep deprivation among college students. For example, some colleges are pairing students who keep similar awake hours, social circles, and values as roommates. However, it is inevitable for roommates to have different class and study schedules, and roommates staying up late, chatting, doing homework, etc., are part of the "sharing a room" college experience. This interruption may not affect heavy sleepers, but for those who are light sleepers, this interruption may disrupt the sleep cycle and lead to low-quality sleep.
As a result, many college students turn to caffeine to stay awake, with 69%2 drinking coffee or espresso, 36%2 having an energy drink, and 86%2 consuming a different form of caffeine. However, these options only offer a temporary "awake" effect.
To ensure they get the sleep they need to be alert during classes and maintain their grades, college students should take proactive steps.
Be organized — Work on projects and homework in between classes so they can get to bed at a reasonable hour and avoid procrastination.
Keep a consistent sleep schedule — Aim for at least 7 hours of quality sleep each night.
Listen to relaxing music or white noise and block out light — Block noise and light to help them sleep with fewer interruptions.
Exercise regularly — Just a brisk walk around campus, can also improve sleep quality.
Avoid caffeine —Do not to consume coffee after 2 pm
Eat well — Consume three meals a day to fuel their minds and bodies