Sleep plays a major role in college

College is a tool to prepare an individual for the real world. The images of college students staying up all night, whether it is for studying, partying or just outright insomnia come to mind.
What students should know is that pulling an all-nighter to study is extremely unhealthy.
Studies have shown that stress over school and life affect students’ sleeping habits far more than alcohol and caffeine abuse.
Dr. Barbara Hebert, the director of Southeastern’s University Counseling Center, sees several cases of students who are affected mentally by lack of sleep.
“When we go in and talk with freshmen, which is something we do every semester, one of the things most of us ask is about wellness,” said Hebert. “So one of the things we ask is about how much sleep you’re getting.”
A study conducted by Central Michigan University alumna LeAnne Forquer surveyed more than 300 college students, and the findings concluded that one third took more than 30 minutes to fall asleep. The majority of students in the sample had later bedtimes and woke up later on the weekends, which affected their circadian rhythm, a person’s natural 24-hour sleep cycle that influences both the quantity and quality of sleep.
“College students, and this is not a study or research, tell us they generally get 4-6 hours of sleep a night,” said Hebert. “Which is not enough sleep. So I think sleep deprivation is an issue for college students.”
While sleep deprivation plays a larger part in college life than caffeine and alcohol abuse, both can enhance the effects of sleep deprivation. A document on the topic of sleep deprivation by the Villanova University Counseling Center encourages students to follow a regular sleep schedule, avoid caffeine and alcohol, engage in regular physical activity and avoid worrying about problems too close to bedtime.
“Staying up all night to study, some people think that’s very helpful. But probably it’s not as helpful as they think it is, because they’re not getting enough sleep,” Hebert said. “It’s not helping the next day in their classes.”
Hebert offered her own advice, and an analogy to help students grasp the concept of just how important sleep really is for our bodies.
“Our body needs sleep, just like our car needs gas,” Hebert said. “In order for us to keep going, we need to get enough rest so our body can rejuvenate and keep going the next day.”
Although studies and experts can explain why sleeping is important, whether or not students will take heed is another issue in itself. Giving the brain and the body the sleep it needs is essential to a students’ overall health and academic career.