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Sleep Deprivation in College

December 15th, 2009

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Is college causing you to miss precious hours of sleep? Whether late night studying causes you to sacrifice a few hours or staying out late on weekends throws your schedule off, it might not take long for you to develop some pretty bad sleeping habits. What you might not know is that bad sleeping habits can lead to sleep deprivation, which can greatly interfere with your ability to function properly.

Lack of sleep is no small problem on a college campus; 43.4 percent of college students reported that during the day they felt either tired, dragged out, or sleepy at least two to five days within the past week, according to a 2009 study by the American College Health Association. Even though sacrificing a little sleep might not hurt you, consistently doing it can reduce performance and alertness levels. According to WebMD, reducing sleep time by as little as one and a half hours at night could result in reducing daytime alertness by 32 percent. When it comes to college, the effect that lack of sleep has on alertness can be costly. According to the study, 20 percent of college students reported that difficulties sleeping had interfered with their academic performance within the last 12 months.

Sleep deprivation can be caused by many different factors like medical conditions, mental health problems, lifestyle choices, and stress. For college students, stress seems to be the main thing keeping them from getting enough sleep. According to a study conducted by the Journal of Adolescent Health, 68 percent of students are unable to go to sleep at night because of stress caused by both school and life. While some amount of stress is to be expected in day to day life, in the study by the American College Health Association, 40.5 percent of students said that within the past 12 months they have experienced a more than average amount of stress.

If you find yourself lying awake at night worrying about your personal problems or educational demands, it might be time to get some help. Struggling with personal issues that you are finding hard to resolve? Seek the help of a professional counselor who you can discuss your concerns with and may be able to help you resolve your issues instead of worry about them. If the pressures of school are causing the problem, realize that you won't be able to do well if you are unable to function properly. A counselor can also teach you relaxation techniques to help reduce anxiety and relax your body before bed time.

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