The importance of sleep for students may seem obvious, but it can affect more than just academic performance. Balancing classes, homework and a personal life can be challenging. You often find yourself in the middle of this debate: Should I stay up late to study more for that test tomorrow or get a good night’s sleep? For most, the answer is pulling an “all-nighter.” What is easily overlooked, however, is the damage that sleep deprivation can have on your physical and mental health.
The Importance of Sleep for Students & Teens
Experts agree college students need 7 to 9 hours of restful sleep in order to promote maximum memory retention and concentration. Unfortunately, recent studies show, on average, that most students are only getting 6 to 6.9 hours of sleep per night with only 11% of students saying that they get a good amount of sleep every night. In addition to that, 7 out of every 10 college students say they get less than the recommended amount of sleep every night. In fact, college students in the United States rank last in the amount of sleep they get on average in a 2013 worldwide study. These numbers have an immense impact on mental health. Research released in a June 2019 study suggests that insufficient sleep was linked to mental health symptoms in college students, including athletes. In the data analysis, lead author Thea Ramsey, an undergraduate at the University of Arizona in Tucson, found that insufficient sleep was linked to a 19% to 29% increase in mental health symptoms of the respondents. Among them, 21% for depressed mood for each night of insufficient sleep, anxiety and desire to self-harm increased by 25%, suicidal thinking increased 28% and exhaustion increased 29%.
While it’s hard to prioritize sleep over homework and an active social life, it is one of the most important ingredients for success in school. Avoiding it may seem like the best option, but as the above study indicated – insufficient sleep can negatively impact memory, mood, motivation, judgement and logical reasoning. With sufficient sleep, your ability to retain complex information and stay focused will improve dramatically. And if that’s not enough, there’s also physical implications that come with a lack of sleep. When your body doesn’t get enough sleep, it affects your physical health as well as your mental health. Knowing the importance of sleep for students can help stop sleep deprivation from taking a toll on your physical well-being. Human Growth Hormone (HGH) is affected by sleep as it promotes growth and helps to increase muscle mass, thicken skin and strengthen bones. Sleep loss can cause a decrease in the production of HGH, which we need to stay healthy as we age. Scary enough, getting only six hours of sleep per night on average causes a 1.7 greater risk of suffering from disease or death. While the most obvious remedy is to dedicate ample time for sleeping and making a few lifestyle changes, here are some exact measures you can take to improve your overall quality of sleep and your academic performance.
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Sleeping Routine Tips for Students
- Switch Up Your Sheets. Most dorm rooms aren’t luxurious for sleep, but upgrading your bedding and sleepwear can make a difference. The SHEEX Original Performance Sheet Set is made to fit traditional twin and twin XL dorm beds. They make a great going away present for college students, and since they’re the perfect size, you won’t have to shop around. Even better, the bedding’s super-soft, moisture-wicking, breathable design will keep you cool, dry and comfortable.
- Set A Sleep Schedule. Sticking to a schedule might seem difficult, but going to sleep and waking up at a similar time every day will help regulate your biological clock. According to the National Sleep Foundation, you should gradually adjust your sleep and wake schedules a few weeks before school is back in session. This gets you back to your regularly scheduled programming. If you don’t maintain a somewhat rigid sleep schedule, you might find yourself having a hard time adjusting to academic demands. Twelve percent of students who don’t get enough sleep every night end up falling asleep in class at least three times per month. By avoiding dramatic schedule changes on the weekends, you’ll consistently feel more refreshed and energized during the week.
- Stay Active and Relaxed. Adding regular exercise to your schedule will help you stay fit and healthy. It also allows you to get a deeper, undisturbed sleep. However, exercising immediately before bed could result in adverse effects. Get in a workout early in the evening so you have time to unwind. Then, conclude your day with a bath or a warm shower – welcoming the pinnacle of relaxation. There’s no way you’re not going to sleep once you’ve decompressed from a day of hitting the books.
- Sleep-Proof Your Room. Make your room conducive to sleeping. Consider window treatments to block out light and sound. You should also consider leaving your electronics in another room if applicable or storing them out of sight. This will help you briefly detox before slipping into a deep slumber. You want to make sure your room knows that sleep is the mantra. Make your environment cool, calm and dimly lit.
- Get Organized. The best way to sleep stress-free as a student is to make sure you’re organized. Prep for the next day by creating a to-do list that waits for you. Plan your outfit if you know you have an important presentation. If you hate being flustered in the mornings, get your folders, laptops and supplies ready to go. This will help you sleep knowing that you can wake up slowly and peacefully without feeling the rush of things. Creating this nightly routine of checking on yourself will help activate a more restful evening and low-stress morning.
- Wear Something Comfortable. When all else fails, slip into something comfortable. Nothing says “I am ready to sleep” quite like the comforts of your favorite sweatpants and hoodie. Our Performance Sleepwear is made for promoting better sleep. The fabric is dangerously soft and there’s no worry of you waking up in the middle of the night due to scorching body temperatures. In fact, you might actually want to wear these to class – and we might be OK with it. Understanding the importance of sleep for students can not only help your performance, but you’ll feel better, more refreshed and more prepared for all the challenges that await a full-time student. Whether you’re a college student, going away to college for the first time or a parent looking for a great gift, SHEEX cooling sheet sets and cooling pillows are perfect for a more restful, restorative sleep. Our bedding will help you make sleep a priority and reward you with a productive, successful semester.
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