Juggling the demands of college life is not easy, and often the first thing to go is sleep. In a recent study, 89% of college reported their sleep was not good. But a lack of sleep lowers our ability to think clearly, stay healthy, and many other important things college students need.
My dear friend Joan is our guest blogger today, and you’ll easily see why I asked her to contribute to our college-bound series. She has almost two decades of experience counseling college students!
I have known Joan for over 17 years. When we moved to Orange City, Iowa, she and her husband Mike were also a part of the Northwestern College faculty and staff, and among of the first people to reach out to us. Joan is the kind of friend I can be instantly deep and serious with, then minutes later, laugh together hysterically. I admire her depth and tenacity. Joan is a Marriage and Family Therapist -- in fact, she inspired me to become a therapist! She has also taught me a great deal about social justice and being a voice for the voiceless. Her fingerprints are all over Weighting Comforts, so it’s only fitting you get to hear from her today. I hope her advice helps college students and parents!
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For most college students, sleep seems to be optional -- or at least negotiable. There are papers to write, books to read, parties to attend, friendships to form, money to make and experience to gain… all on limited time and high expectations.
Juggling the demands of college life is not easy, and often the first thing to go is sleep. While most students recognize that sleep is important, many do not appreciate the significance of what is lost when adequate sleep is missed. Read on to discover… how much sleep does a college student need? Why is sleep so important in college?
According to the National Institutes of Health, college students are one of the most sleep-deprived populations. In fact, a recent study reported that up to 60% of all college students suffer from a poor quality of sleep and 7.7% meet criteria for an insomnia disorder. In another study, only 11% of students report getting good sleep. Studies consistently show that more disrupted sleep patterns and/or less hours of sleep per night correlate to:
These results indicate a profound impact on the life of students who are in the most defining time in their lives... and they don’t even realize it!
So what can be done?
The first thing is to raise awareness that sleep is indeed worth fighting for. Students with the highest GPA tend to get good sleep. With consistent 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep a night, 7 days a week, students will feel their best.
They will tend to:
When a student gets the sleep he or she needs, not only is body refreshed, but so is the mind.
The second thing is to implement healthy sleep habits. Here are a few every-day suggestions to help get you started.
So, for all those going off to college, and for moms and dads sending their young adults to college, to sleep or not to sleep is the question. And the answer is yes! Sleep is not lazy -- on the contrary, is the key to your success!
Joan Andres, LMFT, LMHC
Joan Andres has 20 years’ experience as a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapist and a Licensed Mental Health Counselor in Iowa -- 19 of those years working primarily with college students. She co-founded and directed Northwestern College's Student Counseling Services from 2000-2018. In 2016, she began a private practice to serve the broader community, where she now works full-time. Joan loves sharing life’s joys and challenges with her loving husband, 3 lively kids, and close friends - especially over a good cup of coffee!
*Dorm image from Pinterest