HuffpostCollege/18/04/2016/Por: Tara Wong Estudiante, Universidad de Las Vegas
Resumen: El sueño es algo que muchos estudiantes universitarios hablan constantemente. Al igual que el resto de América, los estudiantes universitarios están recibiendo un promedio de alrededor de 6 horas de
sueño por noche (Centro de Salud de la Universidad, 2016). Debido a las grandes cantidades de estrés que generan las actividades diarias y los estudios, los estudiantes son cada vez más privados de sueño y que pueden estar
afectando a su rendimiento general. Lo ideal es que en promedio, los estudiantes universitarios descansen alrededor de 9 horas de sueño cada noche (Forquer, 2008). Sin embargo, muchos estudiantes universitarios sólo descansan la mitad de eso. En un estudio realizado en 2008 por el Dr. LeAnne Forquer para evaluar los patrones de sueño de los estudiantes universitarios e identificar las áreas problemáticas y posibles soluciones se encontraron resultados similares a los hallazgos de la Asociación del Colegio Americano de Salud (ACHA, 2003): los estudiantes universitarios tienen latencias de sueño largo, corto tiempo de sueño, y frecuente caminando de noche (Forquer, 2008). Al mejorar los hábitos de sueño sobre una base diaria, los estudiantes universitarios pueden ayudar a mejorar su rendimiento académico, recuperación de la memoria y la concentración (University Health Center, 2016).
Wake up at 6am. Get to the gym by 7am. Work from 9am to 2pm. Homework from
2pm to 5pm. Class from 6pm to 8pm. Cook and eat dinner by 9pm. More
homework or just trying to catch up on life from 9pm to midnight. Finally,
1am bedtime. It’s crazy to think that this has been my daily routine.
Within the blink of an eye, my day starts and ends; literally, where does
the time go? This is me trying to balance my life as a college student,
working as a graduate assistant, and trying to make time for my boyfriend
and my dog. I can only imagine the other crazy schedules that are out there
for students who are involved in student organizations, sports teams, have
full time jobs, etc. What a life college is!
Sleep is something that many college students constantly talk about but can
never find enough time for. Just like the rest of America, college students
are getting an average of about 6 hours of sleep per night (University
Health Center, 2016); and this is on a good night. Because of the copious
amounts of stress students go through, as well as the activities and
studies they are balancing, students are becoming more sleep-deprived and
it may be affecting their overall performance.
On average, college students should be getting about 9 hours of sleep every
night (Forquer, 2008). However, many college students may only get half of
that. A 2008 study by Dr. LeAnne Forquer to assess the sleep patterns of
college students to identify problem areas and potential solutions found
similar results to the American College Health Association’s findings
(ACHA, 2003): college students have long sleep latencies, short sleep time,
and frequent night walking (Forquer, 2008). Clearly, students are suffering
when they are not sleeping well. By improving sleep habits on a daily
basis, college students can help to improve their academic performance,
memory recall, and concentration (University Health Center, 2016). Who
wouldn’t love to do better on exams simply by sleeping better?
Everyone is different when it comes to managing their sleep. Here are some
helpful tips from the Mayo Clinic (2014) that I have used to try to ensure
I am getting enough sleep every single day.
1. Stick to a sleep schedule. Because my original sleep habits were not
healthy, I now try to go to bed by 10pm instead of midnight so that I can
wake up at 6am, even on the weekends. It may seem crazy to wake up that
early on the weekends. But my body has become so accustomed to this
schedule that I can’t even sleep in past 7am. Not only does setting a sleep
schedule reinforce your body’s sleep-wake schedule, but it may also support
higher quality sleep.
2. Pay attention to what you eat and drink. I never go to bed hungry or
stuffed, and I always make sure I haven’t eaten at least 3 hours before
bed. Also, watch the nicotine, caffeine, and alcohol intake right before
bed. Nicotine and caffeine can take some time to wear off, which really
affects your sleep schedule.
3. Create a bedtime ritual. Do the same thing every night before you go
to bed. I always make an effort to turn my TV off about half an hour before
I sleep. On my phone, I have an app that reduces bright white and blue
light screen emissions.
4. Get comfortable. Make sure the room is comfortable for you: big fluffy
pillows, thick blanket, cool breeze from the outside air, etc. Now doesn’t
that sound comfy? Another huge tip that I benefit from is not using my bed
as my studying area; only use it for sleep. Now, my bed has become my
throne and only sleep shall pass.
5. Limit daytime naps. College is the time where students are like
kindergartners all over again; they love their naptime! However, long naps
during the day interfere with a good sleep at night. I try to limit my naps
to around 30 minutes, if I need it. Sometimes, a good 10 minute power nap
helps as well. At the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, there are massage
chairs that you can sleep in for 15 or 30 minutes in the Rebel Wellness
Zone (located on the 2nd floor of the Student Recreation and Wellness
Center). This is the best way to get a quick nap in, while getting a
relaxing massage at the same time!
6. Include physical activity in your daily routine. I have to include
working out at least 5 times a week. Just be sure to not exercise too close
to bedtime. If you’re like me, you’ll have too much energy right before
bed, and you won’t fall asleep easier. Try working out before your day
starts; get it out of the way and boost your energy to take on the day!
7. Manage stress. I jot down all of my thoughts running through my mind
right before I go to bed. That way, not only will I remember it for
tomorrow, but I’m organizing myself on how to tackle the day.
These tips are so simple, but they sometimes require conscious effort. And
by all means, we are all very different people and respond in very
different ways as to how we can fall asleep better. By utilizing these
simple tips every day, not only do I feel more productive with what I do,
but I also feel revitalized and rejuvenated to take on the world!
For all of you at UNLV, if you would like to discuss more about the
importance of sleep, check out the Huffington Post’s #SleepRevolution
College Tour. Arianna Huffington will also be there to talk about her new
book! Wednesday, April 20, 2016 from 11:45am – 1:45pm at the Tam Alumni
American College Health Association. The American College Health
Association National College Health Assessment (ACHA-NCHA), spring 2003
Reference Group Report. J Am Coll Health. 2005;53:199-210.
Forquer, L. M., Camden, A. E., Gabriau, K. M., & Johnson, M. Sleep patterns
of college students at a public university. Journal of American College
Health, 56(5), 563-565. DOI: 10.3200/JACH.56.5.563-565
Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research. (2014). Sleep tips: 7
steps to better sleep. Retrieved from
University Health Center. (2016). Sleep rocks! …get more of it!
University of Georgia. Retrieved from www.uhs.uga.edu/sleep/