Look around the classroom. Do you see dazed eyes, yawns and lack of energy in some people? If not, it might be because you’re one of those people.
It’s no secret that college students are always lacking sleep, but why?
Coordinator of Campus Wellness Education Barbra McCall said for college students, sleep moves down on our priority list after classes, sports, clubs, friends and other activities.
Amberly Soto describes her sleeping patterns as nonexistent and believes her two to four hours of sleep at night are because of her involvement level. Soto is a Community Advisor and also manages theatrical productions. She often is up late finishing homework after being in the theater until 10 p.m. or on duty in the dorms.
“I do it to myself, so I can’t really complain,” Soto said.
She believes it will be worth it in the end.
“I will be able to catch up on sleep and it will be worth it in the long run. At least that’s what I keep telling myself,” she said.
According the National Sleep Foundation, people should get about seven to nine hours of sleep a night. However, some students pull all-nighters just to get by during finals. Erica Bilodeau recalls a time last year during final exams when she stayed awake for three consecutive days — with the help of caffeine. She ended up being exhausted and getting sick.
“It probably affected how I did on my finals too,” said Bilodeau.
Mccall said that when we sleep, we consolidate everything we learned and did that day, and we can’t just make it up later.
“Taking eight one hour naps is not the same as eight hours straight through. Your body doesn’t have time to consolidate what you were exposed to,” McCall said.
Elicia Mailhiot also knows she can’t blame her sleeping habits on anyone but herself. She gets home between 11 p.m. and midnight and goes on Facebook or texts people. Then when she finally does go to sleep, she’s a light sleeper, so she’ll toss and turn.
“I always say I am going to go to bed early, but then someone texts me or a good show comes on,” Mailhiot said.
The problems caused by lack of sleep, according to The National Sleep Foundation, include risk of heart disease, diabetes, higher risk of depression and increased risk of obesity and motor vehicle accidents. The Foundation’s main advice to help people get a good night’s sleep is to avoid eating, alcohol intake and caffeine two to three hours before bed. Also, it is best to not look at a television, computer, or cell phone screen before bed. McCall said that the blue light in these devices resembles daylight, making it hard for us to fall asleep after seeing them. She also suggests using a routine to help you fall asleep.
But with the constant use of technology in our lives, will we ever get enough sleep?
Mailhiot has a plan.
“It’s just a matter of mind over text,” she said.