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Challenge: Back to School

Sleep Is Vital For College Students, But They Aren't Getting Enough Of It

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Ask any student about sleep, and they'll tell you they're not getting enough of it. All students will relate to the feeling of being tired all of the time. With the lifestyles they lead, who can blame them? Here's how their sleep cycles are affected by student life, and what it's doing to their health.

Students need more sleep than you'd think

Ever woken up for class and just wanted to stay in bed? It's a common scenario for any student. You may think you're just being lazy, but in fact, you could be being asked to work against your circadian rhythms. 'We all know that teenagers in high school need more sleep', says educational expert Josh Toms from Buy Essay Online service, 'but college students do too. In fact, 18-25 year olds need nine or ten hours sleep every night. It's clear that students don't get the chance to get this much sleep at all.'

How easy it is to lose sleep

In college, it's so easy to lose sleep. In the beginning, you may be staying up all night getting to know new friends, and exploring your new environment. As the year goes on though, stress about your grades and ever increasing workloads can keep you up, just to try and get things done. This isn't even taking into account part time jobs, family responsibilities, and other non academic issues that can be keeping you awake at night.

It's clear that today's students are struggling to get anywhere near enough sleep. How can they, when they're so busy trying to keep up? It can feel like you're trying to keep several plates spinning all at once. When you're so busy, sleep can be the first thing to go.

Napping and student life

The common image of a student is of a person that takes constant naps throughout the day. For some students, this is a reality as they're so tired they sleep whenever they can. However, this can backfire on them. Student counsellor Silvia Jameson from Essay Writing Service says 'I've seen so many students that can't sleep at night, so they fall asleep during the day. It becomes a vicious cycle and then they spend every night awake and worried about their health.'

For some students, napping is a luxury they can't afford. They see it as 'lazy', rather than a necessity when they need it the most. This can lead to chronic tiredness and even breakdowns in some students.

The lengths students go to to stay awake

Every student believes in the power of stimulants to keep them awake when they need it the most. Just look at the line at Starbucks at 8am on any campus. Coffee's a great way to get a boost in the morning, but some students are turning to more extreme measures.

A growing industry is growing in dealing amphetamines that are usually prescribed to treat ADHD to students. In people who don't have ADHD, these pills are used to enhance concentration and replace sleep when needed. However, the side effects can be as bad as drugs like cocaine. In fact, it can actually cause insomnia, making the problem worse.

The effects of not sleeping

So, if students are finding it hard to sleep, and they're not getting as much sleep as they need medically, what effect is this having on them?

Firstly, you can see the difference in a morning class, says college admissions expert Garry Fischer from Research Paper Writing Service. 'Students are lethargic, and class participation is minimal. They just can't engage with their education when they're forced to work against their circadian rhythms.'

As well as this, it's piling more stress on students. They skip sleep because they feel they can't keep up, then are so tired that they struggle to keep up with work. It's yet another vicious cycle.

It has physical effects too. Lack of sleep affects concentration, leads to headaches, and more. If you drive when tired, it can be just as dangerous as driving drunk.

How sleep patterns are changing in education

For their part, universities are trying to change this pattern o behaviour by changing how they operate. Many colleges have experimented with making classes start later in the day, and saw that students were more alert and much more able to get involved with discussions.

Others are offering 'nap rooms' in their libraries, to help those who are studying for exams. The idea came about after colleges saw students falling asleep at their desks. Students say that these help enormously, as they can have a 20 minute nap, then get back to work while avoiding procrastination, which would happen if they were in their dorm room.

How you can improve your sleep

So, if your university hasn't implemented nap rooms yet, how can you improve your sleep? The best way is to start trying to keep a dedicated sleep pattern. Get up at the same time, even on weekends.

As well as this, try minimising your caffeine consumption. If you drink no caffeine after 12pm, you'll feel the difference.

If stress from college is keeping you awake, get help. Talk to friends, or get in touch with your student counselor. Talking through your problems will help more than you'd think.

Students face a lot of sleep problems, but things are turning around. As more colleges start tackling the problem, students will start to see an improvement.

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