BY HEATHER BORLAND
WHY do we need sleep? Sleep is important for a number of reasons. It restores our energy, fights off illness and fatigue by strengthening our immune system, helps us think more clearly and creatively, strengthens memory and produces a more positive mood and better performance throughout the day. Sleep isn’t just a passive activity, but rather it is an active and dynamic process vital for normal motor and cognitive function. Insufficient sleep impacts our health, our moods, our GPA and our safety.
HOW MUCH sleep do we need? Try for 7-8 hours and see how you feel.
CONSEQUENCES of sleep loss? Lack of sleep is associated with both physical and emotional health risks. These include:
- More illness, such as colds and flu, due to a lowered immune system
- Feeling more stressed out
- Increased weight gain and obesity
- Lower GPA and decreased academic performance
- Increased mental health issues, such as depression and anxiety
- Decreased performance in athletics and other activities that require coordination
How To Sleep Better On Campus
If your schedule is too crazy: Free up more time for yourself. Obviously, you don’t want to miss out on fun social activities, or commitments. But if you find yourself completely overwhelmed with responsibilities, take a look at everything on your plate and see if there is anything you can scale back on, combine, delegate, or reschedule.
If your roommates are causing your sleep issues: Propose a compromise. Maybe one roommate has a loud alarm clock that wakes you up every morning; perhaps they could switch to a vibrating alarm on their phone or smartwatch. If your roommate goes to bed much later than you, maybe they can agree to use a flashlight once you’ve gone to sleep and to be as quiet as possible when they get ready for bed. If social visits are causing the issues, draft a roommate agreement that mandates no guests after a certain time of night.
If there’s too much noise in your room, suite, or hallway: Get some gear. Sometimes it’s really hard to eliminate noise and light at night, even when everyone is on board with keeping things quiet. In those situations:
- See if earplugs and an eye mask can help.
- Listen to white noise from a fan, app, or white noise machine.
- Talk to students who are being seriously disruptive, ask them if they could keep it down or take their hangouts to another space.
- If you don’t feel comfortable talking to other students or if talking to them hasn’t improved the situation, ask your CA for advice on how to handle things.
For more information contact Heather Borland, Health and Wellness Education Coordinator, Whisler Center for Student Wellness 587-6200.