When you sit down and plan your day, thoughts turn towards the classes you must attend, the work you have to get done, and the social engagements you’ve arranged. Do you ever think about how you’re going to fit in that recommended eight hours of sleep into your day?
According to Tiffany Mathews, coordinator of Wellness Education for Keene State College, college students should aim for seven to eight hours of sleep per night.
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In 2009, the National College Health Assessment surveyed 1,105 KSC students on the subject of sleep.
90 percent of the students said they experienced drowsiness throughout the day due to lack of sleep. Of those surveyed, 59 percent said they felt rested three to five days out of the week.
In a recent informal survey of 30 KSC students, a surprising 43 percent said they got approximately seven hours of sleep per night.
Surprised to see 43 percent getting a whopping seven hours of sleep a night? It might not be as hard as you think, Mathews said.
The coordinator suggested students remember there are a total of 24 hours within a day.,“Sit down and look at these 24 hours,” Mathews said. “What are you doing with all that time? Get rid of those time zappers.”
Mathews implied if students looked at the hours they spent on Facebook or watching television, they’d see they could easily make more time to catch some Z’s.
Senior Jessica Eno said she gets seven hours of sleep every night.
Eno explained, “I don’t go to bed until about one or two in the morning, but my classes aren’t until after noon, so I can sleep in.” Sophomore Jack Morrison said he makes an effort to get a good night’s sleep, but ends up laying awake for several hours every night. “I’m in bed by 12 a.m. on a good night,” he said.
“But more regularly I don’t actually fall asleep until 1 or 2 a.m.” Morrison’s problem is not uncommon, according to Mathews, who had several suggestions for students who struggle to sleep peacefully through the nights.
First, Mathews said, students should have no contact with their phone.“The light on your phone is an LED light, which will wake even a sound sleeper.”
She continued, “If you’re not going to use an alarm clock, at least dim the light on the screen of your phone and flip it over at night.”
Mathews also suggested not watching television or eating within an hour of going to bed.
She said exercise should be limited to one to two hours before bedtime, due to the body’s production of endorphins.
We suggest reading a book of your choice before bed to help you relax and take your mind off the day.
Another idea is to write down the list of things you need to do the next day just before you get into bed so you’re not lying in bed making lists in your head.
Sophomore Sarah Kousch MacMillan said she has been working hard this year to create a healthy sleep pattern for herself.
MacMillan explained she received professional help last year for her sleep struggles after developing an unhealthy lifestyle of partying, which kept her up until about six in the morning most weeknights.
MacMillan explained her efforts to attempt a good sleep each night, “I don’t ever drink anything with caffeine in it. I don’t watch T.V. after eight, and I don’t eat after six.”
Ramona Anderson, a counselor at the KSC counseling center, said people underestimate how important sleep is to one’s physical and emotional well-being. “If people want to feel better and do better, they need to make sleep a priority,” Anderson stated.
The counselor explained sleep has an emotional component as well as physical, “When your brain isn’t getting enough energy, your emotional centers aren’t well rested and your body is not at ease.”
Anderson said we live in a sleep-deprived culture. She suggested one tip is to strictly make your bed a place of sleep. Anderson pointed out often times one’s bed is a meeting place for friends, food, homework, and T.V. Anderson laughed and said, “Make your bed a place for sleep and sex only.”
Anderson concluded, “If you want to feel well and do well in school, sleep needs to be a priority. Sleep is just as important as adequate nutrition.”
Keep calm and carry on Keene State.
Kim Borkowski can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Julie Conlon can be contacted at email@example.com