Sleep is a naturally recurring state characterized by unconsciousness, muscle inactivity, and suspended sensory activity that is needed to accentuate the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, skeletal, nervous, and muscular systems. It is recommended that adult men and women get 7-8 hours of sleep per night. Not getting enough sleep can have the following negative effects:

  • decreased concentration in work and academics,
  • memory and cognitive impairment,
  • increased risk for injury, illness, and accidents,
  • mood disturbances,
  • sluggishness,
  • depression,
  • and weight gain.

College students in particular may experience more distractions when trying to sleep and overall sleep deprivation. Some factors that can affect the amount and quality of sleep you are getting are:

  • excessive caffeine, tobacco, sugar, and alcohol consumption,
  • some medications,
  • sleep environment including amount of light, noise and the temperature of the room,
  • roommates,
  • poor nutrition,
  • and stress.

It is important to create a personal nighttime routine in which you can prepare yourself for sleep. Soft lighting, quiet music or televisions, no consumption of alcohol or heavy foods, and avoidance of stressful thoughts can create an environment conducive to good sleep. The following are other tips that could help in attaining enough quality sleep:

  • keep a regular sleep and wake-up schedule,
  • don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy,
  • try to make your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool,
  • don’t drink caffeine after lunch,
  • exercise regularly,
  • and reserve your bed for sleep only; find somewhere else for studying and watching tv.

Below is a list of resources that give more information about sleep, sleep disorders, and advice for troubled sleepers.

Last Updated: 6/13/2011