There is a strong connection between students and sleep deprivation. They simply go hand in hand. Nowadays, students are not getting enough sleep, between exams, class work, and rich social and extracurricular activities.
Add to that a regular writing papers assignments and you will get a college student who’s active 24/7. Altogether, so many activities eventually can lead to a lack of sleep, which can have a major impact both on student’s health and GPA’s.
Learn why catching enough sleep is important and get clear tips on how to tackle your brain to learn faster and sleep more.
Moreover, get clean pointers on how to create and overall maintain a healthy balance between school, social life, and sleep.
Sleep Deprivation in College Students
College students are so eager to finish their studies and encounter the real life that they tend to forget some crucial things while they are rushing to the graduation ceremony.
One of the things that college students neglect during their studies is – sleep. In a nutshell, college students are well-known for having poor sleep habits. In fact, they are often considered as the most sleep deprived age group.
The most concerning thing about this situation is that this lack of sleep a.k.a. sleep deprivation is accepted as being utterly normal. The impact of poor sleep habits is best seen in students lower level of concentration and problems with memory. Overall, college students are sleepier than teenagers, or full-time employed adults.
Sleep deprivation happens when an individual gets less sleep that they need to fell alert and awake. Also, sleep deprivation comes with numerous effects on students that they may not recognize. These effects are especially pronounced if a student is an all-nighter. A couple of decades ago there were sayings that short-sleepers live happier and are more ambitious.
FACT: Up to 60% of all college studentssuffer from a poor sleep quality.
But, the study on ‘The Relationship Between Sleep Length And Grade-Point Average Among College Students‘ showed that long-sleepers have a more satisfying sleep, better dreams, are less anxious, have better academic performance and are much more happier, overall.
However, all together, sleep deprivation may lead to numerous consequences that can further on be connected with academic performance or even worse, health issues.
FACT: Those who reported higher grades had significantly more sleep time and earlier bedtimes than those with lower grades.
Consequences of Sleep Deprivation
Sleep deprivation is common in modern society. Moreover, its an everyday thing in the life of an average college student. Sleep deprivation doesn’t go well with daily activities, especially when you are on college and you have numerous activities and rich social life.
But, you should bear in mind that sleeping less than 7 hours per day on a daily basis can lead to health issues that can, later on, affect your entire body. Furthermore, it can lead to an underlying sleep disorder. Not only, but not sleeping enough because of your academic duties might be decreasing your overall learning and recalling performances. So, studying all night in order to achieve a higher grade might not really pay off in the end – you might simply end up feeling more tired, having a weaker immune system and decreasing your brain’s ability to think, memorize and learn.
So, the best way for you to stay healthy, focused and to reach high academic performances is to sleep as long as you should be sleeping based on your age. Otherwise, you can expect to experience some of the consequences of sleep deprivation.
Consequences Of Sleep Deprivation Explained In A Nutshell:
- Memory Issues – Your brain is responsible for your cognitive capabilities. Furthermore, your brain creates unique connections that help you memorize new information during your sleep. Therefore, lack of sleep can impact your short-term and long-term memory.
- Concentration Issues – If you don’t get enough sleep you won’t be able to think straight. Therefore, your creativity, followed with problem-solving skills and concentration will suffer when you miss a good sleep.
- Mood Swings – Sleep deprivation can make you extremely moody. Especially if you are in the middle of exam session. You can expect bad dreams, and chronic mood change that can lead to serious conditions like depression or anxiety.
- Dangerous Driver – A lack of sleep leads to drowsy day. Therefore, being drowsy can increase the risk for car accidents.
- Powerless Immunity – On a long run your immune system weakens with a lack of sleep. Therefore, you are more likely to suffer from viruses.
- High Blood Pressure – If you sleep less than five hours a day you can expect high blood pressure.
- Diabetes – Yes, you are risking getting diabetes when you are suffering from a lack of sleep. How? Lack of sleep makes your body to release insulin. In most cases, short-sleepers get type 2 diabetes.
- Obesity – With sleep deprivation, your hormones are out of balance. Simply said, your body doesn’t know that you are full. As a result, you can gain weight and risk obesity.
- Low Sex Drive – Lower libido comes with lower sleep hours. It works both for females and males.
- Heart Disease – Sleep deprivation can surely lead to higher blood pressure and higher levels of chemicals linked to uncommon inflammation. Both play roles in heart disease.
- Muscle unbalance – Lack of sleep is linked with balance and coordination. Therefore, you can expect to be more prone to physical accidents and often falls.
But, a serious consequence of sleep deprivation that people and college students usually don’t talk about is – academic performance. As mentioned above, sleep deprivation leads to lack of concentration and one’s ability to memorize things, that leads eventually to poor academic performance.
Some people claim that it’s not possible to have enough sleep and finish college. Luckily, that’s not entirely true. What you can do is to hack your brain to learn faster by using some sleeping tips. You will need less time to learn the same thing, if you follow some simple rules. But first, let’s say a word or two about why is sleep important for our brain and cognitive skills.
Why Is Sleep Important For Our Brain and Cognitive Skills?
There are some days when you just can’t think right. No matter how much you try to straight up your mind and be focused, you just can’t. If you are familiar with this feeling, the chances are that you are missing on your sleep. And if you are missing on your sleep you are missing on the opportunity to thrive in your area of cognitive skills.
Good sleep helps us to think fresh, remember information and make risk decisions. When you miss on your sleep, you are messing with your cognitive capabilities. Therefore, you are lowering your chances of having impeccable academic performances.
Lack of sleep slows your reaction time, making you dangerous when it comes to reaction time. It’s confirmed that one-third of drivers nodded off or fallen asleep while driving.
If you are dealing with a lot of data the chances are that you will mix up numbers at one moment, and what in general takes 10 seconds now requires minutes. All of that, because you are lacking sleep. Memories are stored while we are asleep.
As you sleep, connections between brain cells are strengthened, and information is transferred from short-term to long-term. Lack of sleep makes us more forgetful. Furthermore, recent studies show that if you are sleeping shortly after we learn new information helps us retain that information later.
So, basically if you don’t sleep enough, a lot of information you “learned” will likely disappear from your head.
FACT: Getting enough sleep improves your cognitive skills, strengthens your memory skills, and improves your overall academic performance.
Sleeping Tips That Will Hack Your Brain To Learn Faster
Hacking your own brain is not difficult. After all, you need to push it a little bit if you want to achieve exceptional results and get sleep at the same time. There are certain steps that can help you with memorizing more and learning faster.
All you have to do is to follow these simple and yet effective 9 steps to hack your brain.
1. Power Naps
If you can’t avoid sleeping less than you should think about implementing regular nap time. Daytime naps can be one of the great ways to fight sleep deprivation. Moreover, napping is a great way to boost your daily productivity and energy level.
A power nap is a short nap that often takes place at mid-afternoon after lunch. However, you can practice it when you feel the need to do so or have time. Bear in mind, that perfect nap length is the one that lasts 20 minutes. You can benefit from longer naps as well, but anything longer than 20 minutes brings different advantages.
If you miss on full-cycle of your regular sleep, take this form of minimal sleeping to restore your energy. Also, as a college student, you may need a bit longer nap. In that case, you might want to take 1-hour naps. This nap can improve your cognitive skills and memory. Also, you may feel a little groggy after it, but your brain will prove you that this nap helped in numerous ways.
- Dodge evening naps – the best time for a power nap is during the day, and you shouldn’t have naps to close to your normal bedtime. It can trick your brain that you are going for a full sleeping cycle, and you can end up doing more harm than good.
- Find a quiet place – try napping somewhere quiet, and somewhere else than your bed. Make sure that you tell your roommates about your napping practice so they can keep quiet.
- Schedule – try to schedule your naps. This way you will have a goal to deliver something before your napping. This simple nap can make your day nap more rewarding. You can also power nap between classes, on a break.
Napping can directly influence sleep derivation, by decreasing the amount of time you need to fall asleep at night, increases your stamina, and helps you stay asleep. So, use this powerful tool and improve your college experience.
2. Sleep For A Minimum Of 6-7-8 Hours
This may sound one of those easier said than done moments, but actually, it’s not that complicated. After all, you just have to listen to your body needs and protect your sleep.
Sleep is crucial for overall well-being, regardless the age, sex, or even academic performance. Actually, did you know that we spend one-third of our lives asleep? You know how important sleep is. But, do you know how much sleep you actually need depending on your age?
Overall, young adults, people between 18 and 25 years should sleep between 7 and 9 hours. An appropriate number of hours at this age is 6 hours, while the maximum is 11 hours.
College students life can be rather hectic and going zen isn’t easy, but it doesn’t mean it’s not possible. By welcoming the eastern philosophy of peaceful mind you will be able to incorporate mindfulness in your everyday life.
Meditation can help you relive the stress, straighten your back and even improve your memory. Regular meditation can help you be focused on. Moreover, it can help you with your sleep. The great thing about meditation is that you can start even today! Track the following instructions and you and Yoda will be besties in no time.
- Breathe – Deep breaths can help you balance your heart rate and slow down the mind. You will be able to experience instant peace. Students have a lot of worries on their back. With so many exams around no wonder that slight amount of stress is present.
However, it doesn’t mean that you should let it control you. Find a calm place for the start, isolate and take deep breaths. Deep breaths will help you calm down and you will be able to focus on one task at hand.
Therefore, you will feel like you achieved more and you will go to sleep more satisfied with what you accomplished that day.
- Say ‘Thank You’ – You have so much to be thankful at on a daily level. Why not write it down and reflect on the day? This will give you a personal space where you can reflect on highlights and low lights of your day.
Moreover, it will give you an opportunity to avoid the same mistakes when you reflect on them. A few minutes each day to write down what you’re grateful for will cut through your negativity.
- Go Green – Simply said, go for a walk. Start paying attention to nature and what’s around you. Appreciate green scenery and soak up the sun. Take your exam out and spend a few hours studying outside, on the grass. Appreciate things that surround you.
Each step will help you with reaching the inner peace and eventually mindfulness. If you are looking for more detailed steps on how to start meditating, you can find more information here.
Moreover, people studies showed that people who meditate need less sleep.
4. White Noise/ Background Music / Relaxation
Being relaxed during the day can improve your sleep. Having peaceful moments can make you feel less stressed that will lead to faster asleep and more pleasant dreams.
It’s not easy to be relaxed when you have so many tasks to perform during the day and so many academic books, but there is one thing that can help you be relaxed on a long run during the day. Have you heard about white noise?
White noise or background music can help you be more relaxed and focuses. Furthermore, many sleepers fall asleep using white noise. White noise stands for static frequencies that are blended together in order to create calming ambient sounds. White noise is not strictly reserved for night time.
You can use white noise during the day, while you are preparing your exam. In addition, try to have background music all the time while you are learning or writing something.
A number of studies were conducted so the scientist could prove the link between sleep and white noise. One of the most successful experiments included tracking of 20 newborns old between 2 and 7 days. The results showed that 80% of babies who were exposed to white noise, fell asleep much faster than kids who fell asleep spontaneously. S
So, you are probably allowed to have on campus something that may help you sleep and study better, right? Therefore, get yourself a white noise machine and play calming and relaxing background music during the day, to create a relaxing surrounding that will enhance your sleep.
Fast fact: White noise may help mothers settle difficult babies.
5. Never Skip A Night Of Sleep
You should think about your body and your sleep like you are thinking about your subjects and lectures. For example, if you miss a lecture does it affect your knowledge on the subject? Of course, it does, right? The same goes for your sleep…If you believe that one night of sleep doesn’t affect you, you are mistaken!
A single night of sleep loss can be seen in numerous conditions afterward, even the next day. So, what you can expect when you miss a single night of full and regular sleep?
- You can’t concentrate.
- Your memory is damaged.
- Your emotions will be unstable.
- Driving becomes dangerous.
- You can’t focus.
- You will be hungrier.
- You may get sick easier.
Altogether, each condition may lead to more severe health conditions. Not missing on your sleep is the best thing that you can do for your body.
Overall, recognizing the impact that a single night of sleep loss can have on your life points out the importance of proper rest.
Missing a good night sleep won’t help you learn more, it will just disturb each aspect of your life. Rest for higher academic reports.
6. Reduce Screen Time
Yes, we understand how crucial it is to be available and online all the time. However, sometimes less is more.
Being available 24/7 doesn’t mean that you are truly focused on every information. Furthermore, being available all the time makes you feel more anxious like you are constantly awaiting something.
Even more, the high use of screen time affects your sleep. Our eyes are not used to be all the time exposed to artificial light. On the other hand, our body works by absorbing light which tells the organism when its time to sleep. So, by exposing your body to artificial light you are making a confusion, that eventually leads to sleep deprivation.
Try to limit your screen time. You don’t have to be drastic, but you can incorporate small changes on a daily level. Seven steps for healthier sleep:
- Eat without a screen – focus on your food here, not on screen. After all, by doing so you will prevent weight gain or obesity.
- Don’t watch TV in your bed – by doing so you will spend much more time in front of your screen than planned. If your favorite show just premiered watch it, but don’t re-watch every episode before. Also, you can go to the cinema. That way you will get 3 in one – you will have to walk, take a friend, and watch a movie.
- Cut computer socializing – you shouldn’t ignore your friends, just schedule talks and chats upfront.
- Limit social media – just set a limit on the time that you spend on Instagram, Facebook and other social media.
- Phone out – don’t charge your phone in your bedroom. Keep it in another room, so you don’t feel tempted to check messages every second.
- Have a routine – find what suits you the most and stick to it. Limit screen use at least one hour before you go to bed, avoid night cap before you go to bed, and have a hot bath followed with a proper tea for better sleep.
- Exercise – if you simply can’t avoid being in front of the screen majority of the day that be active. Exercise by practicing stretching exercises that can easily be done even when roommates are there.
7. When Times Are Rough Consider Biphasic Sleep
Most people sleep in one cycle and only during the night. Those people are known as the monophasic sleepers. On the other hand, there is a trend called biphasic sleep. Biphasic sleep stands for sleeping during two periods over 24 hours. This practice is also known as ‘siesta’ and its regularly practiced in countries like Spain or Greece.
This sleeping style can manifest naturally in some people. However, it’s not safe to practice it unless you are 100% healthy and consult your doctor about it.
But, if you are short on time, have to much to study and you will do it any way you should bear in mind a few things that are crucial to this sleep cycle. Segmented sleeping is listed as extremely beneficial in a 2016 study, while the research from 2010 talks opposite and discuss this need as more cultural prevalence.
Long story short, napping is ok if you fell need to rest your body and re-activate your energy level, but lacking on sleep – even for an hour, can lead to a numeorus health issue and heavy sleep deprivation.
8. Eat Healthy And At The Right Time
What does it have to do with sleeping?
First of all, eating healthy will not only provide you with all the essential vitamins and minerals you might need, but it will also guarantee you a better night of sleep.
Eating foods rich in healthy nutrients at the right time will make your digestion easier, leading to a more regenerating sleep – body saves more energy for recovery than for digesting —> the result – feeling more rested.
Secondly, eating-and-drinking healthy is much more than simply avoiding caffeine and heavy food at night. There are certain drinks and certain foods that could actually help you fall asleep faster and sleep better.
So, if you are up for this task and you want a better sleep quality make sure that put the following things on your everyday grocery list!
- Whole-wheat crackers
- Nuts – they contain melatonin
- Cottage cheese
- Warm milk
- Peppermint tea
You are what you eat and you can control what you eat. Therefore, you are the ruler of your body and its health. Accordingly, eat and drink properly for restful nights.
9. Ditch The Alarm Clock
As difficult as this can seem, but the best things in the world do not start by hitting the alarm clock. Just think for a second! In an ideal world would you wake up to an alarm or you would wake up naturally? You will probably go with the second one, right?
And after all, do you really need an alarm clock to tell you that you ate enough or that you had enough fresh water? Of course not. You are probably paying attention to your body’s signals which inform you that you are full. The same goes with sleep, as difficult as this can seem.
First and the most challenging step is to determine your sleep needs. Learn how much sleep do you need for your age, and consider how much hours do you need in general to feel rested and fresh. Now that you know the exact number of sleep that you need to try to, as much as possible, met each and every night.
Secondly, create a schedule and stick to it. Have regular patterns, including meal patterns. Thirdly, go to bed relaxed and without your smartphone or any other electronic device.
So, if you go to bed at about the same time every night you will get sleepy about that time. Determine at what time you want to get up and make sure you get to bed at the right time.
Bear in mind that you should go to bed only when you are truly sleepy. Don’t crawl into bed because you want to feel asleep, go to bed only when you are truly tired. Lying awake may lead to insomnia and anxiety.
Sleeping Tips For College Students – Key Takeaways
If you have a strong urge to sleep during the day, you should consider improving your sleep habits. Moreover, if you are falling asleep in class, it’s a surefire sign that you’re not getting enough sleep.
If this happened more than once the chances are that you are already in sleep deprivation and you are heading toward a road of severe health issues and poor academic performances. College life is vivid at least, and it’s not easy to manage everything with so many obligations on a daily level, both on the academic and social level.
Luckily, sleep deprivation is not a condition that has to stay forever. There are certain tips that you can use on a daily level to improve your sleep experience. Try to improve your sleep by having a regular sleep schedule, by avoiding all-day screen time and by taking better care of your drinking habits and proper nutrition.