Insomnia 101: How to combat insomnia and improve sleep habits in college
College students, we get it. You are exhausted. After all, between going to class, studying, being involved on campus and attending social activities, there is little time left to even try to go to sleep. And today’s technology doesn’t help. In fact, a study done by Brown University unveiled that college students are some of the most sleep-deprived people in the country. The same study revealed that 18 percent of college men and 30 percent of college women reported suffering from insomnia.
What is Insomnia?
The National Sleep Foundation defines insomnia as “difficulty falling asleep or staying asleep, even when a person has the chance to do so.” Acute insomnia is brief and often is the result of stressful life circumstances, while chronic insomnia is characterized by disrupted sleep that occurs at least three nights per week for at least three months. Individuals who struggle with insomnia often suffer from fatigue, low energy, difficulty concentrating, mood disturbances and decreased performance in work or at school. Those side effects are not good for that GPA of yours.
How Does Insomnia Affect College Students?
Another study suggested that sleep loss can actually hurt academic performance just as much as binge-drinking or drug use. Likewise, sleep problems can cause weight gain, a decreased desire to exercise and an increase in cravings for unhealthy foods. Say hello to that freshman 15! College students suffering from insomnia are also more susceptible to mental health problems. Common college habits such as having irregular sleep patterns, consuming caffeine and/or alcohol, taking Adderall, stressing and sleeping with a phone nearby all contribute to sleep problems.
All in all, the quality and quantity of your sleep can greatly impact your success as a student. So, let’s talk about how you can combat insomnia and improve your sleeping habits.
6 Steps to Better Sleep:
Get some exercise. Physical activity, whether it’s a walk around campus or an intensive workout, is a great stress reliever. Plus, it helps tire out your body, which will help you fall asleep.
Watch what you eat and drink before bed. Consuming alcohol and eating heavy meals before bed impacts the quality and quantity of sleep. Minimizing those long nights of drinking and late-night eats will do wonders for your sleep.
Drown out the noise. Do you have noisy roommates or neighbors? Earplugs can drown out all kinds of noises and distractions that lead to insomnia. If earplugs aren’t for you, invest in a noise machine or download a white noise app on your phone.
Turn off the technology. The light from your phone and computer screens can stimulate and confuse your system into thinking it’s daytime. Avoid Netflix binging, Instagram scrolling and other use of technology too close to bedtime.
Wind down before bedtime. Try doing relaxing things before going to bed, such as stretching, yoga or reading a book (an actual paper book—not on a screen!). This will tell your body that it’s time to rest!
Try meditating. According to the National Sleep Foundation, meditation is an accessible, budget-friendly way to treat insomnia that everyone can try. There are several apps, such as The Mindfulness App, Headspace and Calm, that will guide you through meditation.
How Much Sleep do College Students Need?
The average college student gets about six-and-a-half hours of sleep per night, which is not nearly enough. In fact, 9 hours is ideal for physical, mental and emotional well-being. If you are struggling to get enough sleep, it’s time to prioritize your sleep and combat insomnia with these 6 steps to better sleep.
Visit Dr. Ramesh Peramsetty and his Crimson Care team for more information about how a lack of sleep may be affecting your health.
Dr. Ramesh Peramsetty -- along with his entire Crimson Care team -- is committed to making medical services convenient and accessible. Crimson Care Veterans is available seven days a week, with wait times of less than one hour. The clinic offers two Tuscaloosa locations: one on Veterans Memorial Parkway and the other on Skyland Boulevard. Both locations offer extended weekday hours and one-stop treatment services, including medical care, x-rays, lab work, and prescription dispensing. In addition to physical convenience, Crimson Care also offers digital access through its online patient portal. With your login credentials and a laptop, you can request prescription refills, complete any necessary patient forms online, review your medical records at any time, and even pay your bill. Check us out today on our website, or give us a call at Crimson Care Veterans: (205) 507-1100 Crimson Care Skyland: 205-507-1119.