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Sleep is one of the most important aspects of life. In fact, it is so important that Biola has designated this past week as “Sleep Week” to emphasize the importance of sleep in college students’ lives. Getting enough sleep is an important part of making sure your mind and body are performing at their best. Being a college student is not easy—it is hard to keep track of jobs, a full load of units and a social life. Without sleep, life feels like it is moving too fast—with no energy to do it all.
So, why are students prioritizing other responsibilities over getting enough sleep?
While grades may seem all-important, we are not able to achieve everything we are capable of without proper sleep. To make sure we are on top of our game at all times, it is vital that we put our health and sleep schedules first.
STRESSING AND NOT SLEEPING
According to Sleep Advisor, a blog dedicated to sleep health, most college students only get fewer than seven hours of sleep a night, even though a healthy amount of sleep for a college-aged student is about eight hours. Though the 1-hour difference in sleep may seem minimal, it impacts how your brain and body function throughout the day. The Daily Pennsylvanian reports that lack of sleep causes memory loss, mood regulation issues and poor decision-making.
Stress is a normal part of college. But, when assignments start piling up it is easy to lose track of what is most important. After pulling an all-nighter to finish homework or coming home from a long shift at work, your mind is already fixated on the next responsibility to worry about. This can create a never-ending cycle of getting too little sleep because your mind is always active.
Although pulling all-nighters to finish homework seems necessary, the University of Georgia reports that one in four students believe their lack of sleep hurts their academic performance. Rather than making your mind and body work all day and all night, give yourself time to rest. You will probably find that sleep will help your academic performance much more than an all-nighter would.
FEAR OF MISSING OUT
Stopping stress when you have so many opportunities is easier said than done. During the first semester at college, going out with friends, eating out and even just getting assignments done seem like the only things college is about.
According to Psychology Today, researchers at Carlton and McGill University examined how the fear of missing out impacts first-year university students. Studies found that students who experienced the fear of missing out also experienced stress and negative emotional health, and are more likely to lose sleep and experience more fatigue.
If you take the time to sleep for eight hours, you will not miss out on a life-altering opportunity. Although it may be difficult to say no to your roommate who wants you to get donuts with them at 1 a.m., sleep is your friend. It is OK to turn down your friends when you feel tired or when you have way too much homework.
Making time during the day to focus on finishing any responsibilities, rather than scrolling through Instagram or TikTok, typically allows time to have a more regular sleep routine. Using your phone before bed or spending hours on the television may be a cause of lack of sleep. An irregular sleep routine will confuse your body according to Nature Research Journal, so creating a routine will help you sleep better and longer. By setting a regular schedule, your body will also get used to a better routine for doing homework, exercising and finding time to be with friends. This helps you in every aspect of life and keeps you well-rested.
There is not one simple answer that works for everyone when it comes to getting enough sleep. It takes a combination of managing a sleep routine, balancing all aspects of life and learning how to turn down opportunities that impede your health. This will help immensely in learning to take the time to sleep. Finding this balance is a learning process and will take time. But this is your reminder to take the time that you need to sleep, even if you have to spend less time on other responsibilities.