QU students say they don’t get enough sleep

By on April 25, 2007

With last-minute papers, studying for finals, and scheduling for next semester’s classes, who has time to sleep? College students have always been notorious for staying up late and receiving little or no sleep, but the truth is that sleeping too much may not be so great for you either.

According to The National Sleep Foundation, lack of sleep can result in increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, an increase in body mass index, increased risk of diabetes and heart problems, increased risk for psychiatric conditions including depression and substance abuse, and decreased ability to pay attention, react to signals or remember new information.

Caitlin Meany, junior legal studies major, missed several 8 a.m. classes this semester due to lack of sleep. “I have 8 a.m. classes on Tuesday and Thursday and I would say I’ve missed more than four classes as a result of lack of sleep.”

However, sleeping too much may also have a negative effect on your body. The National Sleep Foundation has been doing studies that may link sleeping too many hours (nine or more) with increased morbidity (illness, accidents) and mortality (death). Although this theory is not 100 percent accurate, there have been studies where this proves true. One study consisted of a group of people who slept a shorter number of hours and a group who slept more than eight hours. While both groups on average had a large mortality risk, the risk was higher for longer sleepers.

Sarah Squires, a freshman communications major, sleeps longer on Tuesdays and Thursdays to catch up on the lack of sleep that she gets on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Squires says, “I get about four to five hours of sleep on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays because those are when I have 8 a.m.s, and I am usually up late doing work the night before,” she said. “On Tuesdays and Thursdays my earliest class is at 3:30, so I get anywhere from 10 to 12 hours of sleep to catch up on the hours I’ve lost.”

Nicole Connelly, a sophomore business major, also tries to make up for lost sleep on days that she can sleep in. “On days that I have 8 a.m. classes I usually only get about five hours of sleep, while on the other two days when I don’t have class till 5 I get about seven to 10 hours of sleep depending on how much work I have to get done,” she said.

So how much sleep should one person get? The amount varies depending on the individual, but the recommended amount is seven to nine hours. In order to achieve the recommended amount of sleep, try these tips: have a consistent sleep and wake schedule, create a relaxing bedtime routine such as soaking in a hot bath or listening to soothing music about an hour or more before your expected sleep time, make your sleeping atmosphere dark, quiet, comfortable and cool, sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows, and make sure not to exercise one to three hours before bedtime.

Connelly finds it easier to fall asleep with some low sound in the background. “I need the sound of my fan rotating. Without my fan on it takes me a lot longer to fall asleep.”

Jerome Palmeri, junior media productions major, also likes to keep his fan on but for a different reason. “I like my room to be a little cooler so I keep my fan on low right near me so it won’t bother my roommate,” he said.

Charles Bjernestad, a senior International Business major, finds it easier to go to sleep when he has a clean room and his television is on. “When my room is messy, I get restless and feel the need to clean before I go to bed. The TV is just a good distraction in case I’ve had a bad day, to keep my thoughts on something random,” he says.


About Jackie Maroney