What are sleeping difficulties?

College students frequently report problems with sleeping. The National College Health Assessment from the Spring of 2012 reflected that 25% of college students have sleep difficulties, and half of all students reported having trouble with sleepiness during a given day. When your body doesn’t get 8 hours of sleep every night, sleep debt can result. A buildup of sleep debt causes more than just tiredness and fatigue – it can have a negative impact on your energy, ability to learn, emotional balance, and health.

Signs & Symptoms:

  • Difficulty falling asleep at night or trouble getting back to sleep after waking during the night.
  • Waking up frequently during the night
  • Light, fragmented, or unrefreshing sleep
  • The need for sleeping pills or supplements in order to get to sleep
  • Sleepiness and low energy during the day

What Do I Do?

  • Have regular sleep and wake times; Consistency is key
  • Use your bed and bedroom only for sleeping
  • Find ways to relax, like light reading or jotting down a to-do list of things that are on your mind
  • Try not to take long naps (30 minutes or more) during the day
  • Keep your room dark and cool when you are ready to sleep
  • Exercise during the day, not too close to your bedtime
  • Avoid or limit caffeine, alcohol, and nicotine
  • Avoid large meals and beverages before bed
  • Keep in mind most college-aged students need seven to nine hours of sleep each night.

Be sure to consult with your doctor before starting any medical regimens.

Stress-related sleep problems typically result from periods of time when our bodies and minds are been conditioned to be “on the go.” Practicing meditation daily can be helpful in calming your mind. The John Main Center on campus has free sessions, Monday-Friday from 12:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. Sessions last approximately 20 minutes.

If you have tried the prevention techniques but are still experiencing difficulty sleeping, speak with your doctor or counselor. Common therapies used to treat insomnia include light therapy and sleep restriction.

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