How Sleep Impacts College Students

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Although college students face many challenges throughout their time in school, one of the crucial obstacle one that they face is lack of sleep. Many of them believe that 6 hours or even less hours of sleep for the night will make them very product but in reality, it has negative impact on them. Such of the impacts that inadequate of sleep has towards the students are; waking up fatigue, having mood issue, trouble focusing in morning classes, drinking alcohol and so on. In this paper, I will discuss how lack of enough sleep influences college students such as struggles in academically, lower GPA, drinking problems, as well as the overall health issues.

Students that does not sleep well most often faces many different challenges that prevents them to be successful in college. For college students that have “sleep deprivation and poor quality sleep has been linked to GPA, academic performance, and learning capabilities”. (Carter, B., Chopak-Foss, J., & Punungwe, F. B. (2016). An analysis of the sleep quality of undergraduate students. College Student Journal, 50(3), 315–322). They often struggle with their schoolwork as well as their daily lifestyle because without having a decent sleep causes an imbalance in their lifestyle. They are not actively engaged with their work. They can hardly focus on their classes as well as their education overall. Students that have sleeping issues or sleep less than the regular hours often fall asleep during school time. They may sleep during class time or may sacrifice the class time to take a nap.

College students who are typically short in sleep ends up being involved other activities that are not so great to their health. Based on a research, “College students who do not get enough sleep are also prone to engaging in risky health behaviors, such as binge drinking” (Carter, B., Chopak-Foss, J., & Punungwe, F. B. (2016). An analysis of the sleep quality of undergraduate students. College Student Journal, 50(3), 315–322. Students gets involved into activities such as drinking or maybe doing other inappropriate or illegal activities and that can lead them in to negative consequences in such behaviors. For instance, drinking can cause health problems to the student. It can cause body and brain problems such as overdrinking, abusing and misusing of alcohol. Alcohols are very risky and can cause health problems to the students such as heart diseases or liver problems.

Some students drink alcohol for different reasons or problems such as person problems or school problems or when they are stressed with school activities. Some of the finding suggest that “students that students who consume alcohol at higher rates, experience shorter sleep duration, irregular sleep patterns and schedules, and poor sleep quality” (Carter, B., Chopak-Foss, J., & Punungwe, F. B. (2016). An analysis of the sleep quality of undergraduate students. College Student Journal, 50(3), 315–322. Alcohol overconsumption leads the Students to have problems with time managements. They can not manage their time wisely; they can hard manage their time of when to go to bed.

Sleeping in short period of time causes many problems to the students. Some students have challenges to falling sleep because “trouble falling asleep was associated with a decrease in feelings of happiness, increased feelings of self-hatred, and lower self-esteem” (Carter, B., Chopak-Foss, J., & Punungwe, F. B. (2016). An analysis of the sleep quality of undergraduate students. College Student Journal, 50(3), 315–322. Sleeping short period of time or not sleeping properly will cause harm to the students such as hating their self or having a low self-esteem

There are many things that can causes young teenagers or college students not sleep properly. Such things that can prevents students from sleeping is the usage of electronic devices or having devices in their bedroom. For instance, some of “the specific causes of poor sleep quality and duration are diverse, but the presence of media devices within the bedroom, such as smart phones and tablets, is a novel points of discussion in terms of their effect on sleep quality and duration” (Whipps, J., Byra, M., Gerow, K. G., & Guseman, E. H. (2018). Evaluation of nighttime media use and sleep patterns in first-semester college students. American Journal of Health Behavior, 42(3), 47–55)

A study has been done by some doctors and one of their main focus was the nighttime media usage and sleep patterns for students that freshman’s in college and isuprisingly what they found was interesting. They found that their “data support the current literature in demonstrating that college students, specially first semester students, are likely to experience chronic sleep deprivation and is novel in describing the sleep patterns.

Sleeping deficiency leads college students to get in some involvements such as alcohol usage. The main reason why students get involved in such activities is to make their life easier.

One of the data shown in the article states that “poor sleep health is a risk factor for heavy alcohol use and related problems among adolescents and young adults.” (Miller, M. B., DiBello, A. M., Lust, S. A., Meisel, M. K., & Carey, K. B. (2017). Impulsive personality traits and alcohol use: Does sleeping help with thinking? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(1), 46–53) In this case, college students believe that it makes them to become more social and have fun. For instance, poor sleeping quality is a great indicator of alcohol related outcomes. In conclusion, as stated on the article, the link between sleep and impulsivity sleep and impulsivity and the impact of this association on alcohol use among young adults is poorly understood. Current findings suggest that sensation-seeking and urgency are associated with greater alcohol involvement among young adults, regardless of sleep adequacy. However, adequate sleep seems to enable individual who tend to plan ahead to moderate their drinking.

Students that does not get enough sleep at night often do poorly in morning classes. They cannot stay awake or get focused in the morning classes because, “ morningness appeared to affect academic performance in that it was positively and significantly correlated with student’s overall semester grade point average.” (Miller, M. B., DiBello, A. M., Lust, S. A., Meisel, M. K., & Carey, K. B. (2017). Impulsive personality traits and alcohol use: Does sleeping help with thinking? Psychology of Addictive Behaviors, 31(1), 46–53) Students that get less sleep hours tend not to do great on their overall classes. They struggle with their classes significantly by trying to keep up with all of the school activities as well as their personal issues.

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Many college students suffer sleep disturbances. They often struggle for not being able sleep properly and “approximately 70% of college students report disturbances in sleep including poor sleep quality, insufficient sleep, and irregular sleep patterns.” (DeMartini, K. S., & Fucito, L. M. (2014). Variations in sleep characteristics and sleep-related impairment in at-risk college drinkers: A latent profile analysis. Health Psychology, 33(10), 1164–1173). In this case 70% is a significant high number and it indicates that most students suffer luck of sleep. These students that encounter irregular sleeping patterns due to either working or other school activities.

Some college students that consume alcohol can have sleep disturbance issues. For instance, “college students with higher alcohol consumption and drinking frequency report lower sleep duration, more sleep on weekends than weekdays, and greater delays between weekday and weekend bedtimes than their peers who report less” ( DeMartini, K. S., & Fucito, L. M. (2014). Variations in sleep characteristics and sleep-related impairment in at-risk college drinkers: A latent profile analysis. Health Psychology, 33(10), 1164–1173). They spend most of their time either working whether they are doing school related activities or other work. They drink alcohol to forget the things that they go through daily and they use alcohol as sleeping medication. They drink it so that they can fall sleep. Drinking can causes other health problems for the long term.

According to a research, it is found that college students that have “Poor sleep quality, shorter sleep duration, and greater sleep pattern variability among college students have been associated with increased alcohol use”( DeMartini, K. S., & Fucito, L. M. (2014). Variations in sleep characteristics and sleep-related impairment in at-risk college drinkers: A latent profile analysis. Health Psychology, 33(10), 1164–1173). Students that have problems in their sleep are associated with alcohol usage. They use alcohol as some sort of remedy that will take away all of their problem or solve their problem but in fact it affects them negatively. As stated in the article Only 29% of college students report getting at least 8 hours of sleep per night, below the 7-9 hours recommended for young adults.

Some people have problems with sleeping and they often cannot fall sleep immediately. Luck of sleeping causes mood swings which disturbs the individual’s emotions and feelings. Usually “people with insomnia tend to report experiencing more negative emotions relative to normal responsive to faces displaying feat and sadness, irrespective of their ability to successfully recognize those emotions.” (Guadagni, V., Burles, F., Valera, S., Hardwicke-Brown, E., Ferrara, M., Campbell, T., & Iaria, G. (2017). The relationship between quality of sleep and emotional empathy. Journal of Psychophysiology, 31(4), 158–166). In this phrase, it shows the fact that people that has insomnia can problems when it comes to their social life. For instance, they have a problem with their emotions, since they have a negative emotion, it creates a problem to how they respond to certain type of argument.

Many studies were conducted by scholars and hoping that they can find a solution however not all study was pretty successful. For instance, a study was done at the University of Calgary. In this study, forty healthy undergraduate students were recruited and slowly some of the students were dropped out of the list due to the usage of medications. The rest of the students attended two different sessions. One of the sessions was some serious of questionnaires and the second session focused on their emotional empathy task. The study focused on the subjective sleep quality and the sleep duration. This was very specific because it only targeted certain categories of people which was only students that are in undergraduate school. It has limitation and it cannot be compared to everyone, such as people that are currently working have problems with sleep insomnia.

Sleep have a negative consequence to the body and the brain as well to not only college students but to everyone in general. There are many findings and research that has been one for every year and one “these findings in a nonclinical population lend further support for the use of behavioral sleep recommendations for improving sleep quality, preventing the negative effects of sleep loss on general cognition and emotion-related processes in particular” (Guadagni, V., Burles, F., Valera, S., Hardwicke-Brown, E., Ferrara, M., Campbell, T., & Iaria, G. (2017). The relationship between quality of sleep and emotional empathy. Journal of Psychophysiology, 31(4), 158–166.)

In a real-world environment people fall into two categories. Some people are morning which means that they are up, have the energy and ready to work and run the world. On the other hand, others are evening people, which means that they have all the energy in the world during the evening time when people are tired and ready to go to bed. Based on the article, “theses individuals tend to show systematic differences in physiological rhythms as well as differences in preferences, affects, and behaviors” (Guthrie, J. P., Ash, R. A., & Bendapudi, V. (1995). Additional validity evidence for a measure of morningness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80(1), 186–190). For instance, whether they are a college students or employees in the work force, each individual fall into one of these categories and it is very significant to know which one you fall into because that makes a huge difference.

Students do well when they have classes in the middle of the day or in the evening. For example, “In a simple test comparing mean grades across morning, afternoon, and classes, Skinner found that grades in morning classes were significantly lower than those in the afternoon and evening classes.” (Guthrie, J. P., Ash, R. A., & Bendapudi, V. (1995). Additional validity evidence for a measure of morningness. Journal of Applied Psychology, 80(1), 186–190). Students have a higher performance when they don’t have to wake up very early in the morning. Many students fall sleep in late at night and if those students have to get up early in the morning to attend 8 o’clock classes, they will not give hundred percent attention. For instance, many students that are in college live away from their homes. They live in the college dorms and they have a lot of responsibilities to take since they live away from their parents and families. Some of the responsibilities that they have to take since they are away from their parents is their financials. Majority of the students have part time jobs or fulltime jobs. Some of them have car and have to pay the insurance or perhaps a car loan. By the time most students are done with school and work it may be midnight or very late at night and they don’t have enough hours to sleep if they have 8:AM class.

Although many people suggest that sleeping eight hours at night, some students have struggles maintain their sleeping balance. One of the studies that has been done over the years focused on students that are in a university. They took certain students in the university to monitor their sleep and students are supposed to report how many hours they sleep over the night. For instance, “Students who reported a mean of 6.79 hours of sleep during their school/work, lost 6.05 hours of sleep hours over 5 days. Even though they compensated by getting extra sleep on the weekends, this extra sleep was not enough to compensate for the lost sleep during the week, resulting in a mounting sleep debt”. ( Gaultney, J. F. (2010). The prevalence of sleep disorders in college students: Impact on academic performance. Journal of American College Health, 59(2), 91–97.). This explains that students were not getting their eight hours of sleep.

Lack of sleep can lead to problems and negative consequence to not only college students but as well as young adults and employees. Sleeping issues is something that can be managed however “Diagnosis and treatment of sleep disorders could lead to increased or more consolidated sleep in young adults and may improve cognition and mood.” (Gaultney, J. F. (2010). The prevalence of sleep disorders in college students: Impact on academic performance. Journal of American College Health, 59(2), 91–97. When the right sleeping diagnosis is done, it helps the person in multiple ways such as their moods will change, and also how they react with people.

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How Sleep Impacts College Students. (2021, September 24). Edubirdie. Retrieved January 28, 2022, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/how-sleep-impacts-college-students/
“How Sleep Impacts College Students.” Edubirdie, 24 Sept. 2021, edubirdie.com/examples/how-sleep-impacts-college-students/
How Sleep Impacts College Students. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/how-sleep-impacts-college-students/> [Accessed 28 Jan. 2022].
How Sleep Impacts College Students [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2021 Sept 24 [cited 2022 Jan 28]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/how-sleep-impacts-college-students/
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