College can be a busy time in your life. On top of attending class and doing homework, many college students get a job – leaving them with very limited free time. This also leaves very little time to sleep. Which brings us to a popular question: How much sleep do college students need?
According to experts at Stanford University’s Department for the Diagnosis and Treatment for Sleep Disorders, college students should be getting at least 8 hours of sleep each night.
This article goes on to describe how college students who end up getting less than 8 hours of sleep endure something called sleep debt.
Getting the proper amount of sleep is important and allows your body to have enough time to rest and recharge so you can be at your best focus and energy level for the following day.
Thus, as you can probably tell, pulling an all-nighter every week is not the healthiest habit for your body. Here are some simple ways college students can get more sleep time in to receive at least 8 hours each night.
Schedule a Nap
Naps can do wonders. Even if your schedule is busy, you may still have time for a nap if you schedule it for between classes. Some students like to use breaks within the day to catch up on homework and run errands. I used to use some of my free time in between classes to take a quick nap. Those naps helped me power through the rest of the day.
Most college classes start no earlier than 8:00 a.m. If you go to bed at 10 p.m. and wake up at 6:00 a.m., that will leave you with enough time to get ready for class, go over homework and run an errand all before class. If you are less of a morning person, you can always stay up until 11 p.m. and sleep until 7. There are ways to get 8 hours.
Change your Sleep Environment
If you find it hard to get to sleep at night and you tend to lay awake in bed for some time, you might want to try changing your sleep environment.
Sometimes noise and activity can deter your body from being able to rest and relax so you can sleep. Make sure you turn the television and computer off at least 30 minutes before bed and get in a quiet environment.
If you notice anything about your bed that’s irritating you (like a squeaky or rough mattress or pillows that make your neck hurt) consider replacing said item(s).
Develop a Sleep Routine You Can Stick To
If you prefer not to take a nap during the day and get all your sleep in at night, develop a realistic sleep routine that will allow you to get 8 hours or more of rest each night.
As a college student, it’s nice that you have the power to create your own schedule. Decide whether you like to get more done in the morning or in the late afternoon and evening. Then choose your classes based on that preference.
If you work, most jobs will ask your availability. A lot of students try to get the bulk of their work hours done during the weekend but it’s not uncommon to work before, after or in between classes.
If you have a job that requires you to work late, make sure your classes do not start early the next day so you can get the proper rest.
Stay away from caffeine and coffee before bed. Take 10 minutes to prep for the next day before you lie down. If your routine is new, sticking to it each day might be a bit of a challenge at first, but it will become second nature soon enough.
Getting enough sleep as a college student is crucial to your success. It can help improve your academic performance, give you enough energy to make it throughout the day, and prevent sleep debt habits like drowsiness and oversleeping.
If the average college student needs 8 or more hours of sleep each night, how do you compare?