Sleep seems to be the thing college students can’t seem to get enough of. School, social obligations, sports/extracurriculars, and work take up the majority of the day, stretching past the typical 9-5 schedule. It’s a common occurrence to see students studying and finishing work into the wee hours of the morning on a regular basis, not just during finals. Of course, it’s no secret that this isn’t exactly a healthy way to live, but it has become almost excepted to just put off sleep until everything is accomplished.
In regard to my own sleep habits, there is definitely room for improvement, but I have also come a long way. I remember in middle school and the beginning of high school I would get an average of around 5 hours of sleep, especially my sophomore/junior year when stresses of college deadlines became more intense. Those years were rough and looking back, I would have been more productive if I stopped staying up all night to finish work I could have done in the morning when I woke up. Then, one day my mom came to me and essentially told me that sometimes you just have to choose sleep. Since then, I’ve changed my sleeping habits a lot. Now during the week, I tend to go to sleep around 12:30-1:30 and wake up around 8:30-9. This has drastically changed m overall energy and health. However, there is more that I can do to enhance my sleep. I recently invested in a Fitbit tracker and one of the features it has is sleep tracking. Each morning I look at my own stats compared to the “average” Fitbit user with my same age, and I have found that I’m spending an almost negligible amount of time in deep sleep and upwards of an hour and fifteen minutes awake throughout the night. While I’m getting more sleep, I’m getting a lower quality of sleep; which could also be attributed to stress, anxiety and electronics usage before bed.
A realistic amount of sleep for students could be around 6-7 hours of quality sleep per night. However, this amount of sleep would only be attainable through proper time management and prioritization of tasks. Sleep can’t be a “back-burner” task, but one of importance. The amount of sleep could also vary person to person, as the quality of sleep an individual gets per night isn’t predetermined. Some ways to improve the quality of sleep is to develop a routine that gets your body ready for sleep each night, like not going on the phone right before bed or making it a point to do a nightly self-care routine. At times it’s simple enough to start a routine with good intentions, but if you’re anything like me, keeping up with them is a struggle. By remaining steadfast to the routine and remembering that sleep is very important, my sleep could improve.