Being a college student can sometimes feel like working a full-time job. To make time for responsibilities like homework, jobs and sports, sleep is often the first thing to be sacrificed. However, receiving seven or more hours of sleep is extremely important and offers great health benefits for college students.
“Before bedtime, be intentional about creating a couple of rituals and a couple of habits that you do every single night. Try not to go to sleep with your phone in your hand or a television on,” said Ryan Kolter, coordinator of Recreational Sports and Wellness at California Lutheran University, in a phone interview.
A Healthline article suggests that the blue light radiating from your phone or television can inhibit melatonin production, affecting the amount of sleep you get. Turning off devices or placing them on a night or dark mode, where your eyes are less stimulated by blue light, can help combat this.
Kolter said it can be helpful to do something relaxing or low energy prior to bedtime.
“Brush your teeth, maybe do a little bit of stretching, yoga, maybe you want to do a breathing exercise or meditation,” Kolter said.
One thing I like to do before I go to sleep is write in my journal. This is calming for me, and I usually doze off when I’m done because my eyes are away from a screen.
As college students, it may seem impossible to make time for bedtime routines.
In a phone interview, Gehssa-Hope Gorospe, a sophomore on the Regals Lacrosse team majoring in marketing communication, said her schedule helps her receive eight to ten hours of sleep per night.
“I’m on a very strict sleeping schedule. I try to wake up as early as possible and also get enough sleep the night before. If I know I have to wake up at 6 a.m. then I have to go to sleep like at eight or nine,” Gorospe said.
She also said she relates to the hectic schedule of a college student with many responsibilities. Gorospe is a full-time student, YouTube influencer and student-athlete with social and familial obligations similar to most college students.
To stay on top of her work, Gorospe completes all her assignments immediately after her classes, but admits taking breaks are important.
“I meditate every single day and it gives me peace of mind because I have so many things going through my mind, so many things on my to-do list, so just sitting there in peace meditating is the best part of my day,” Gorospe said.
Goropse said she goes to sleep as early as 8:30 p.m. on weekdays. Other times, she finds herself editing videos for her YouTube channel past midnight and realizes it’s time for her to lay it to rest and pick up tomorrow.
“Having that discipline on yourself and knowing when to stop and when to continue is key in having that balance,” said Gorospe.
Shelby Ingram, a sophomore on the lacrosse team and majoring in business administration with a finance emphasis, said in a phone interview that she makes sure to schedule out her time to maintain a balanced life.
“I have to schedule everything out very carefully to make sure I get enough sleep, enough time for homework, practices and everything,” Ingram said.
An organized schedule and priority-based actions are essential to having less stress and more sleep. I keep a planner to write all my assignments for the semester and manage my daily workload. I find these habits help improve the quality and quantity of my sleep.
Ingram’s method of staying on top of her work is planning out her coursework in a planner and making some room for anything that may come up.
She said sometimes practices can run late, or be in the early morning, so she can work with professors to push back assignments if needed. Planning out her schedule is important for her to maintain a balanced sleeping schedule.
“Sleep is definitely important in keeping that balance to make sure that every area of my life is not falling apart on me,” Ingram said.
Kolter also said there are physical health benefits that come with a good amount of rest.
“Folks that sleep better have better metabolisms. They are able to be more mentally well, muscles are more relaxed especially if they use them. Falling asleep relaxes everything,” Kolter said.
Sleeping also has some cognitive benefits. Kolter said things like memories and all that you’ve learned in a day is moved from temporary storage to long-term storage in your brain.
“So if you want to feel like you’re not just wasting your time in college, and you want the things you’ve learned to be with you for your life, sleep is a great way to back up those hard drives,” Kolter said.
Some college students may struggle with a healthy work and social life balance, resulting in a lack of sleep. However, it is important to put in the effort to form healthy sleeping habits that contribute to an overall better lifestyle.
“My friends tell me… ‘but Gehssa, you can go to sleep at 8:30 p.m. when you’re 60 years old.’ I say, ‘yes I know, but I’m striving to be the best person I can be,’” Gorospe said.