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Healthy Minds Healthy College

Are You a Healthy Sleeper?

October 15, 2014

sleepy student

Now that summer is over and you’re back in college (or starting college for the first time), getting enough quality sleep is really important.

Regular, consistent sleep patterns will help you feel more energized, alert and attentive when you wake up in the morning. Healthy sleep patterns can also enhance your cognitive functioning, learning and memory.

A lack of sleep can lead to an array of problems. For example, people with persistent and untreated insomnia are at risk for experiencing depression for the first time or a relapse of depressive symptoms. There is also good evidence showing that insomnia is a risk factor for the development or recurrence of anxiety disorders and substance abuse problems.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, the recommended amount of sleep for people 18 and over is between seven and nine hours each night. The quality of that sleep is also important, which our lifestyle and health habits can negatively or positively impact.

Try answering the following questions. They can provide good insight into whether you are getting enough sleep.

  • Do you have a consistent sleep schedule? (i.e. get a similar amount of sleep each night).
  • Are you productive during the days that you get your usual hours of sleep?
  • Do you have a constant urge to nap?
  • Are you dependent on caffeine all throughout the day?
  • Are you able to fall asleep easily at night?

For more on sleep including tips and sleep quizzes, visit the National Sleep Foundation.