You rub your eyes which ache from staring at your bright computer screen for who knows how many hours. You look at the clock, then back at your to-do list and think, “I don’t have time to sleep—I have to finish this assignment.” Sound familiar? Sleep is so crucial to your health and performance in school, but it’s often lowest on our list of priorities. Think you don’t have time for sleep? Here’s 5 ½ reasons why you, as a college student, should take sleep seriously.
1) Rest is essential to your physical health
Your body can’t function well without sleep. Sleeping is like powering off and recharging your body so you have the energy you need to play sports or give a speech in class or perform well at work. Healthy sleep improves your immune system and overall health in the long run. Good sleep could even save you from having complicated health issues in the future.
2) Sleep improves your mental health
Having a good day starts with the night before. Healthy sleep improves your focus, productivity, and mental health. If you have difficulty sleeping, it may be worth seeing if you have any
3) Lack of sleep can lead to lack of judgment
Sleep deprivation brings stress, poor physical health and mental health, getting sick more often, and drowsiness, which feeds into more sleep deprivation, which is linked to depression. When you consistently don’t get enough sleep, your decision making, judgment, or rationality can be impaired. Drowsy driving is an example of a dangerous, but preventable side effect of poor sleep.
4) Get the recommended amount of sleep
According to the Sleep Health Foundation, it’s recommended that young adults between the ages of 18 and 25 get 7-9 hours of sleep a night. This means that less than 6 hours and more than 11 hours isn’t a healthy amount of sleep. Kaitlin Gallo, Ph.D. at Christie Campus Health says, “Fifty percent of college students report feeling sleepy during the day, while 70% of students are not getting a sufficient number of hours of sleep on a regular basis.”
5) Form habits for better sleep
If you’re going to take sleep seriously, it’s helpful to make habits around your routine. Start by keeping track of how much sleep you get every night and assess if there’s something you need to improve. Whether it’s going to bed earlier, waking up later, not looking at a screen right before bed, or playing sleep music or white noise, you can implement tips for better sleep or 10 commandments for healthy sleep. Like my mom always said to me, “Have a happy nappy.”