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College Students: Make Sure to Get Your Sleep

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Sleep deprivation is a common problem for college students. Lack of sleep is detrimental to your ability to concentrate and therefore hinders your ability to perform well at the job you are in school for in the first place: to be a great student. Between classes, work, responsibilities and social activities, it's hard for students in college to get the recommend eight hours of sleep each night; and even harder if you have noisy, night-owl roommates. I don't have a lot of ideas on how to deal with them but here are some tips to getting a good night's sleep while in college.

1. Drink in moderation. Even though some may argue that alcohol helps you fall asleep, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Alcohol interferes with the sleep cycle and causes you to feel less rested the next day.

2. Exercise on a regular basis. Physical activity yields more deep sleep during the night and less awakenings throughout the night. However, do not exercise right before going to bed; this is counterproductive.

3. Stick to a schedule.  Consistency is paramount. You should strive to wake up at roughly the same time every morning. The fact that you have an 8:00 a.m. class Monday, Wednesday, Friday and a 3:00 p.m. class Tuesday and Thursday, does not mean it's a good idea to sleep in until 2:00 p.m. some days to "catch up" on sleep. Otherwise, it's like going through a mini jet lag on a weekly basis.

4. Manage stress. Worriers and perfectionists tend to struggle the most with getting a healthy amount of sleep. Manage your stress by not procrastinating so that you will not be up all night thinking about all the work you have to do the next day.

Even though it can be difficult to get plenty of sleep during a busy semester, it's important to take care of yourself. Before you start with the excuses consider the effects of sleep deprivation on your emotional, physical, and mental health. Move getting a regularly restful night of sleep up on your priority list while in college.

By Shea McGlynn, Florida State University