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Sleep disturbance is all too common for young adults between the ages of 18 and 30, according to 2019 study “Smart Technology and Not So Smart Sleep Quality” by Elmhurt College, Roosevelt University, Eastern Illinois University and Dominican University.
The study found that constant use of technology before sleeping, on top of academic and work stress contribute to sleep disturbances.
Junior education major Daniella Martinez said she knows that it is unhealthy for her to continue going to sleep every night around 1 or 2 a.m., but that it has become a habit.
“It’s hard getting a good night’s sleep when I’m involved on campus, at work or doing homework,” Martinez said. “But it’s all worth it, I’m still here.”
A common theme among students, like freshman business administration major Donnell Leffridge, is that they will do anything to make the grade.
Between work, school and playing basketball for the University, Leffridge recognizes that the workload he encounters as a college student is significantly different than the workload in high school.
“I don’t sleep because I have work and I’m closing around midnight,” Leffridge said. “Then do homework until 4 a.m. Thankfully, I use my phone and laptop, and the light keeps me up until (my eyes) finally get tired.”
Although both students are still standing strong physically and academically, the study reveals that irregularities in sleep has a direct correlation to academic performance, like grade point average, specifically among undergraduate college students.
According to the study, napping has been shown to improve alertness and performance.
The prevalence of napping among college students and the relation to GPA and circadian rhythm type has been identified to be an evening type chronotype.
A person’s circadian rhythm is the body’s sleep and wake cycle over a 24-hour period.
A person’s chronotype is their body’s preference of when they get up or go to sleep.
For example, if you are an early bird and prefer to get up early and go to sleep early, then you have a morning chronotype. If you are a night owl and prefer to go to bed late and get up late, you have an evening chronotype.
“I would like to take naps every day of my life, but realistically I get one every week,” said Erin Aschoff, senior kinesiology major. “I normally go to sleep at 1 a.m. but I have class at 7, so I’ll have to wake up even earlier because I commute.”
Ultimately, our sleeping habits and what cause disturbances in these patterns can all affect the quality of our sleep.
The study concludes that understanding specific factors such as school, work, stress and technology use is the first step to how each individual can get good sleep and improve their overall health.
The study recommends limiting technology stimulation several hours before bed and sticking to a particular sleeping schedule to get a good night’s sleep.
Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Matt Durant said that there are two things that college students lack; they do not eat enough and do not sleep enough.
“You don’t sleep, you don’t perform,” Durant said. “Your cognitive abilities drop and it throws off all other daily habits and activities.”
Durant said that he has seen his own students and athletes be affected by poor sleeping habits.
He said he has observed that students do not pay attention as well as usual and describes their behavior as “zombie-like.”
Durant shared that he read a study that shutting off your phone before bed can add an extra hour of sleep, suggesting that finding a sleep routine can retrain the individual on how to fall asleep.
“We’re all routine-oriented. If you’re exercising, it’s an outlet for your energy,” Durant said. “Try stretching, meditating and set yourself up to go to bed and ease into sleep.”
Jaycie Thierry can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.