Do You Have Bad Sleep Hygiene?

Hygiene is a word that is not often associated with the word sleep.  However, sleep hygiene plays an extremely important part in our quality of sleep and alertness during the day.  Especially in college students, sleep hygiene is something commonly overlooked. 

According to the National Sleep Foundation there are many examples of bad sleep hygiene and many of these are used on a daily basis by college students.  One of the examples being, avoiding naps during the day.  Naps are a very popular thing among college students with all of the late night studying and and staying out with friends.  Sometimes naps can be the only thing to make it through to the next class, however those naps could be hindering sleep quality which is extremely important in memorizing material and critical thinking for classes and exams. 

A few other examples are; avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol too close to bed time; eating food right before bedtime; avoid watching the television, TV, or reading; and lastly; to ensure that the sleeping area is pleasant and relaxing.  Coffee and energy drinks are often used by many college students to stay up late studying for tests, which can directly cause poor sleep hygiene. The caffeine may help you stay up a few extra hours to cram, but the quality of sleep will be poor and may ultimately affect the functioning of the student during the exam anyway. 

With laptops and tablets being so popular, many students have fallen into the habit of playing with these devices late into the night rather than sleeping. It has also become a habit of many to fall asleep with the television on or with an episode of your favorite show from Netflix. This may seem like it makes sleep easier initially, but the lights and noises from the TV avoid you from reaching your deepest possible sleep. 

College students are busy people and should be functioning at high levels at all times in order to do well.  A good nights sleep is vital in good grades, mental health, and daily functioning in general.  By avoiding examples of bad sleep hygiene you are more likely to maintain a regular sleep-wake cycle!

By: Kaitlin Gaffney

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