How often do you walk into Allegro, Java Crew, or Dutch Bros to find sleepless college students ordering espresso or chugging Red Bull?
I, for one, find this to be a daily occurrence. Whether it’s seven in the morning or two in the afternoon, college students appear to be stuck in an inescapable tiredness.
Why do college students have such a hard time getting to sleep and staying asleep?
There are many things that can contribute to your lack of sleep: including sleep apnea, insomnia, and other sleep disorders. More likely, though, your habits are contributing to problems falling asleep or staying asleep.
One of the main issues with getting quality sleep in college is the implementation of a regular sleep schedule. If I have class at eight in the morning on Monday but not until noon on Tuesday, what are the chances I’m going to get up at the same time on these two days? Close to none. Maybe not every issue can be adjusted; I don’t see a regular sleep schedule in my near future.
Avoid caffeine (and alcohol) especially right before bed. Caffeine can keep it’s effect for 10 to 12 hours: so that coffee at one in the afternoon could be the source of your sleep issues. Consider cutting out caffeine after lunch or even altogether.
If you notice that light or sound keeps you awake, make the necessary adjustment. You might have no control over these things – noisy neighbors, perhaps? If this is the case, it could be time to invest in earplugs or an eye-mask to wear at night.
I’m about to suggest something completely unheard of, but hear me out. Turn off your computer. Watching a movie before bed, surfing YouTube, or scrolling through Tumblr are all going to stimulate you mind, which is exactly what you don’t want. On top of this, light suppresses melatonin production. Why does this matter? The main job of melatonin is to regulate your sleep cycle: melatonin production is higher in dark areas, and slows in the light. Instead of picking up a laptop, consider picking up a book or listening to some music.
If you continue to struggle with falling asleep and staying asleep, talk with your doctor about it. Not getting enough sleep is harmful to nearly every function in the body, so if you “can’t afford to miss class” you really can’t afford insomnia.
By Quinn Murphy