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Feb 17, 2020 04:01 PM EST

Why Do College Students Need More Sleep?

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Why Do College Students Need More Sleep?

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Lack of sleep is a significant problem that affects students of all ages. This issue persists in higher education and causes many college students to underperform.

When you don't get adequate sleep, your ability to function is greatly affected and this causes you to make poor decisions. This spills into all aspects of your life, including your driving skills.

Drowsy driving causes over 70,000 injuries annually and fortunately, there is a simple solution to this problem. Getting more sleep is the answer, but many drivers and students overlook this because they don't appreciate the impact of being fatigued.

Because of this, college students must get sufficient sleep as they have many demands expected of them.

Now we'll take a look at a few of the most important reasons for college students to get more sleep so that you can make it a priority in your life.

College Students Are Sleep Deprived

One thing that is true for most college students is the fact that they are likely sleep deprived.

What this means is that they are not getting adequate sleep. College students need a minimum of seven hours of sleep every night, but eight to nine is much better for their energy levels. 

There's a lot a college student might need to take care of every day depending on their situation. As a result, they may sacrifice precious sleeping time for the sake of spending more time relaxing.

For example, a busy student might finish their homework and studies late at night. Many students enjoy unwinding before bed, so they might opt to play some video games before sleeping.

If this happens, they'll end up staying up late despite needing to get up in the morning. This will cause them to be fatigued the next day, which drastically affects their functionality.

However, there are also legitimate reasons to lose out on sleep. Needing to stay awake just to finish an assignment, having a work shift, or dealing with an emergency can all cause a student to neglect the need to sleep.

Regardless of what causes a student to lose out on sleep, this can be dangerous and should be corrected to make their life easier. 

Difficulty Fulfilling Obligations

The first problem you might face as a fatigued college student is difficulty fulfilling your obligations.

If you're lucky, then you're a full-time student that has nothing they need to focus on aside from school. This means that you'll only need to attend class and complete assignments. 

However, many college students also have a job. This can be either part-time or full-time, with a greater time requirement if you work more hours. Work cannot be neglected because it will cause you to get fired, so this often becomes a priority.

On top of this, several college students also participate in extracurricular activities. This can include things like clubs, sports, or anything else academically-related done outside of class.

Trying to juggle several different obligations, like schoolwork, a job, and extracurriculars, there's very little time left for you to spare. Your free time will be extremely limited, which can cause you to forsake some sleep to gain more. 

Even if you don't have much downtime, the time where you aren't tending to an obligation might be so slim that you can't possibly get enough sleep.

Imagine a scenario where you have class six hours a day, work for eight, and spend two hours getting ready and traveling between obligations. That already only leaves you with eight hours and that doesn't include any time to complete homework or feed yourself.

In this situation, sleep deprivation is inevitable and cannot be avoided. The fatigue that you suffer with will cause you to struggle to meet every obligation that you have.

You might be too tired to attend a class or perhaps decide to call out of work. When you have less energy, it's much harder to take care of all of your responsibilities.

Poor Academic Performance

A harsh reality of sleep deprivation is that it translates to poor academic performance.

Students who get less sleep have a tougher time learning concepts and remembering them later. This means that their ability to learn is hampered. 

Drowsy students also might neglect to complete homework or attend class. Alternatively, they might sleep through a lecture.

If you aren't well-rested, you can't perform at your optimal capabilities. This will directly affect your grade point average and how well you understand the information that you're being taught.

Students that do get adequate sleep are much better prepared to digest information. They perform better on homework, exams, and overall comprehension.

Impaired Driving

Students facing fatigue also have impaired driving skills.

Driving while you're tired is incredibly dangerous because it can be as detrimental as being intoxicated. You simply aren't able to fully pay attention and you might be fighting to stay awake.

If this is happening, then you're likely more focused on not falling asleep than you are looking for potential hazards. You might get lucky and not get into an accident, but you're left vulnerable to any that are coming your way.

Being drowsy impacts your reaction times, judgment, and driving ability. It's never safe to drive while fatigued and it makes you more likely to cause an accident in this state.

They're Still Developing

As a final reason, college students are still developing and need sleep to help this process.

There's a possibility that this growth is physical, but mental and emotional maturity is affected the most. The human brain continues to develop until roughly 25 years old, so this would mean that many college students are younger than this.

Inadequate sleep makes growth difficult because you aren't spending enough time in a deep sleep. This is the phase of the sleep cycle where the human growth hormone is released.

With poor sleep, your mental growth may be stunted. Sleep is one of the best things you can do for your body and neglecting this will impact your present and future. 

Closing Thoughts

Many people are chronically fatigued, but this is prevalent amongst college students. This is because many students have a lot to take care of, which may not leave enough time for adequate sleep. 

It's vital that students get adequate sleep because being fatigued affects their ability to fulfill obligations, academic performance, impairs their driving, and challenges their growth.

Sleep may not seem important to you, especially if you have a lot of obligations. You might be tempted to stay up late and have fun, but this can be detrimental to your daily life and isn't worth the tradeoff. 

Make it a priority to get at least eight hours of sleep every night and you'll begin to appreciate how much better you feel and perform in all aspects of life!

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