Parking spaces are not the only thing that BW students need more of. Sleep also seems to be woefully deficient on campus. BW students are not alone in reporting insufficient sleep. Research has indicated that well over 50% of college students surveyed reported feeling sleep deprived. It has been reported that in the last 10 years, as a society, Americans have lost approximately an hour of sleep on average per night.
Sleep is the body's way of recharging and repairing itself. Poor sleep or lack of sleep results in another form of stress that the body needs to endure. As any college student can attest, there are already plenty of other stressors associated with daily life on campus. Students who chronically use sleep time hours to complete academic work or enhance their social lives may be causing themselves more harm than they realize. Sleep deprivation is associated with a number of physical and psychological problems. Lack of sleep has been connected to depression, chronic fatigue, poor immune response and a number of cognitive processing problems including attention and concentration difficulties. These are just a few of the problems that have been reported to be associated with poor sleep hygiene.
Here are some helpful hints for better sleep:
- Go to bed and get up at regular times. Try not to vary the times by more than a 1/2 hour. If you are having trouble getting to sleep, try getting up a 1/2 hour earlier in the morning. This may help you get to sleep at night.
- Reduce caffeine and nicotine consumption as much as possible.
- Avoid napping during the day. If you need to nap, never nap longer than 20 minutes.
- Keep your room temperature between 60 and 70 degrees.
- Eliminate non-sleep activities in bed (reading, studying, watching TV, etc.). This will strengthen the association between being in bed and sleeping.
- Exercise during the day. Aerobic exercise preferably 45 minutes to an hour is most effective in enhancing sleep.
- Avoid heavy meals before bedtime, but also avoid going to bed hungry. Consider a small snack 2 hours before bedtime (banana, milk, etc.)
- Develop a sleep ritual that includes soothing and relaxing activities that you perform at the same time and in the same order every night.
- Reduce noise. If you need to, purchase a pair of earplugs.
- Don't try to make yourself sleep. If you can't fall asleep within 20 to 30 minutes, get up and engage in some relaxing activity (reading, watching TV, drinking herbal tea), don't return to bed until your are sleepy.