Thursday, February 18, 2016

Snoozing Like A Panther

We should have the hang of sleep by now, but unfortunately, life sometimes gets in the way. Sleep has a huge impact on our overall health and academics: two of the most important things to us as college students. So while we may know that sleep is important, it’s also important for us to understand how we can improve our sleep and know what we should aim for. There’s always room for improvement, right? Let’s delve into some common questions regarding this issue.

How much sleep should I get each night?

  • Over the past 40 years the average sleep length of college students has decreased from 7 hours and 45 minutes to 6 hours and 39 minutes.
  • Individuals averaging less than 6 hours of sleep a night clearly experience a wider array of negative effects.
It is going to be different for every person, but it’s safe to say that you should aim for the 7 to 9 hour range when scheduling your sleep time.

What is a sleep/wake cycle? Why is this important?
You cannot make up lost sleep once it is lost. So when you stay up late studying for a test, don’t plan on “making up the hours” tomorrow. Knowing this, it’s important for you to create a consistent sleep/wake cycle, and follow it daily to ensure that you don’t lose any sleep.

  • You should wake up within an hour of your normal wakeup time each morning
  • You should go to bed within an hour of your normal bed time each night

I took an hour nap, and now I feel groggy rather than refreshed. What did I do wrong?
When napping, you should aim for 15-20 minutes maximum. If you nap longer than that, you have a higher chance of entering REM sleep, and it’s best not to wake up during a REM sleep as that is what can cause you to feel groggy or disoriented.

What can I change within my bedroom to create a better sleep environment?

  • Your bedroom should be a quiet, dark, and relaxing environment that is neither too hot nor too cold.
  • If sunlight is an issue for you, try room darkening curtains.
  • Remove all TVs, computers, and other “gadgets” from the bedroom.
  • Try turning your notifications off. The alert sounds may keep you awake longer.
  • Your bed should be comfortable and used only for sleeping and not for other activities, such as reading, watching TV, or listening to music
  • Refrain from late-night snacking in bed, or eating a large meal.

For more information on sleep, or to request a one-on-one sleep consultation, please contact Brittany, Health Promotion Coordinator, at (217) 581-7786, or

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