Whether college students are staying up late partying or pulling an all-nighter studying for an exam, many of them tend to develop bad sleeping habits. These sleeping habits can lead to sleep disorders, mainly insomnia, causing students to become sleep deprived and having that lack of sleep interfere with their ability to function properly. If you aren’t able to get in your full six to eight hours of sleep each night, you might have a sleep disorder.
According to a 2009 study by the American College Health Association, 43.4 percent of college students reported they “felt tired, dragged out, or sleepy during the day” on three to five days of the past week. This is most likely caused by lack of sleep, which can affect the immune system’s ability to fight off infections, increase problems with the cardiovascular system, and increase weight gain. Insomnia could be another reason college students may be suffering from lack of sleep. Insomnia is characterized by having difficulty going to sleep or staying asleep on most nights for a month or longer, and is brought on by illness, stress, depression, or anxiety. While some students consider sleep deprivation a way of life in college, consistent lack of proper rest can significantly impact their lives. In the study, 20 percent of students reported that sleep difficulties within the last 12 months had interfered with their academic performance, and 20.4 percent reported that sleep difficulties had been “traumatic or very difficult to handle.”
If you think that living the life of a college student has caused you to have a sleep disorder, seek the help of a health professional and change some of your personal habits. Many college campuses have health and wellness centers where students can discuss their concerns with a health care professional, who may be able to diagnose and treat the problem. If you are unable to sleep because the pressures of school cause you to stay awake at night worrying, see a counselor who can talk you through your stresses and teach you relaxation techniques to reduce anxiety. Students can improve their chances of getting a good night’s sleep by making lifestyle changes, such as not having caffeine or nicotine before bed, avoiding any stimulating activity, like exercise, two hours before going to sleep, and by going to bed at the same time each night.