North Texas Daily

Students should prioritize sleep to improve success

Students should prioritize sleep to improve success

Students should prioritize sleep to improve success
April 14
13:00 2023

Sleep deprivation is common among college students and is often treated as the unfortunate norm. Students see their friends and peers staying up late, so they follow suit without thinking twice.

In actuality, losing sleep can lead to issues later on like a lack of focus in classes and social settings.

At least 60 percent of college students sleep only seven hours per night and have low quality sleep. A large majority of college students report sleep disturbances, with 75 percent dealing with sleep issues occasionally and another 15 percent experiencing them on a daily basis, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Sleep is important to quality of life and is often sacrificed by students for procrastinating, playing video games, watching TikToks, drinking or taking a late work shift. Life sometimes gets in the way, making choosing between proper rest or outside obligations tough.

Statistics show 60 percent of college students are extremely tired and sleepy for at least three days a week. According to the National Library of Medicine, about 70.6 percent report getting less than eight hours of sleep.

Daytime sleepiness, poor sleep schedules and overall sleep deprivation remain major issues in colleges today. Students choose to stay up with friends socializing or turning in assignments at the last second rather than getting proper sleep. They can’t be blamed though, since colleges require so much time and attention on top of social lives.

It’s important for students to know the effects of sleep deprivation such as fatigue, irritability, mood swings, poor memory and a lack of focus. Poor sleep can negatively impact a person’s immune system, weight, cardiovascular system, hormone levels and brain, according to

Knowing all this, students need to find the proper sleep time to be healthy and succeed academically. It can be tempting to stay up late studying for a test or write a 10-page research essay, but the effects are too grave to ignore.

60 to 90 minutes of extra sleep per night can make you happier and healthier, according to the American Psychology Association. It’s vital for human health, allowing our bodies to rest and brains to recharge after the day.

With a continued lack of sleep, students will start to lose focus in class and receive worse grades as a result. Students lose .07 points from their semester GPA for each hour of sleep under the recommended average, according to Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences’ study of 600 freshman sleep habits. They also found that the typical student goes to bed at 2:30 a.m. and gets 6 ½ hours of sleep.

“You’re accumulating this sleep debt, and that has a pretty negative role in terms of people’s academics,” said David Creswell, author of the PNAS study and professor in psychology and neuroscience at Carnegie Mellon University.

Academic success greatly relies on the amount of sleep students receive. Late-night procrastination makes things worse. The work might be completed on time, but productivity and chances of success will be lower as a result. Freshmen have the tough task of adjusting to the college schedule, which may conflict with their old sleeping patterns from high school.

While there were more classes from as early as 8 a.m. to as late as 5 p.m., the workload outside of class in high school wasn’t as stressful. College students are given so much work to complete each week, on top of personal responsibilities and hardworking jobs.

Going to bed as late as 3 a.m. or later have started to become normal instead of the unusual exception. This can’t be sustainable as the loss of sleep eats into the next day. Students lose focus and doze off in classes, not retaining the necessary information to be successful going forward.

Sleeping tips for achieving good-quality sleep include limiting caffeine intake, electronic screentime, intense physical exercise and bed activities like eating and watching TV near bedtime, according to Edward Franz Pace-Schott, an assistant professor of psychiatry at Harvard University.

Perfect sleep won’t come instantly and as easily as one would like but taking small steps of incremental change will help immensely.

Both students and professors need to realize the benefits of good sleep and balance the workload accordingly. Professors especially need to realize how stressful students’ lives are outside of class and assign due dates at reasonable times to avoid late-night procrastination. Students still must recognize their priorities and make sure proper sleep is one of them.

Featured Illustration by Emaan Noorzaie

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Joaquin Fernandez

Joaquin Fernandez

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