I am a nursing student in my third semester. I do not have much time for anything that is not school related, and I have really struggled with learning how to balance school and sleep. In my first semester I prioritized studying oversleep and noticed changes in my attitude and well-being. My skin looked as if it was the surface of an asteroid, I viewed everything as negatively as possible, and it looked as if I had two black eyes with how dark the circles under my eyes looked. One look at me and you would think it was finals seasons all semester long. After that semester ended, I started going to bed at a more reasonable time and saw myself coming back to life; I had more energy than ever and was able to focus on preparing for the next semester without getting distracted by a pin dropping. That is how I learned just how important sleep really is.
60% of college students fall into the category of “sleep deprived” (Campus Mind Works). College is often a time for many “firsts” and a new sense of independence; however, this can lead to poor habit development including not getting enough sleep. Poor sleeping habits can have severe consequences such as bad grades, poor coordination, and a negative attitude and mentality (Mawer). Other signs of sleep deprivation to look out for include memory issues, weakened immune system, low sex drive, weight gain, and high blood pressure (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). A weak immune system leaves you open to several sicknesses which can impact your day-to-day life like attending work or school.
The American Public Health Association is an organization that speaks out about public health issues to improve the health of the public with the goal of achieving equity. The deal with issues ranging from chronic disease to climate change to reproductive health (American Public Health Association). The APHA has a Student Assembly organization whose goal is to bridge the gap between health and student (Association). They utilize social media to connect with and communicate important health concerns like sleep with students. They also provide additional resources students can use to further educate themselves on the importance of such a topic. According to Campus Mind Works, there are several ways to improve the quality of sleep and the amount of sleep one gets including avoiding electronics prior to bedtime and eating on a regular schedule (Campus Mind Works). The Center for Disease Control is another organization that works towards improving sleep habits. They recommend teens and adults get between 7-10 hours a night (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
No one wants to see you suffer from sleep deprivation. If you or a friend are struggling with sleep deprivation due to school, stress, or any other reason you can reach out the APHA student assembly for additional resources for better sleep (Association). Other ways to promote good sleep habits include keeping the curtains or blinds open during the day, avoid taking naps that last longer than 30 minutes, and set a consistent bedtime and waketime schedule (Watson and Cherney). The CDC also has a website that provides more tips to get better sleep that you can check out (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
American Public Health Association. “About APHA.” n.d. American Public Health Association. 22 June 2021.
Association, American Public Health. Student Assembly. n.d. 15 June 2021.
Broderick, Thomas. “Guide to Sleep for College Students.” 11 June 2021. Affordable Colleges Online. 2021 June 2021.
Campus Mind Works. Sleep. n.d. 15 June 2021.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Tips for Better Sleep.” 15 July 2016. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 22 June 2021.
Mawer, Rudy. “17 Proven Tips to Sleep Better at Night.” 28 February 2020. Healthline. 22 June 2021.
Schlarb, Angelika Anita, Anja Friedrich and Merle Claben. “Sleep Problems in University Students- An Intervention.” Neuropsychiatric disease and treatment (2017).
Watson, Stephanie and Kristeen Cherney. “The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Your Body.” 15 May 2020. Healthline. 22 June 2021.