Sleep Health & Why You Should Care

By Jesse Sewall
Special to the Comment

When college students are lumped together and stereotyped, sleep deprivation is usually at the top of the list, along with binge drinking, being poor, and partying too hard.
Sleep health is important, and usually one of the first sacrifices made in the college student’s schedule. Time management is much easier when you add a few more hours to every day, right?
It’s important to understand that a good night’s rest has to be a priority, though. Lack of sleep has an abundance of physical and emotional health risks: a weaker immune system, increased stress, increased weight gain, lowered academic performance, increased fatigue throughout the day, and depression and anxiety.
When health professionals recommend ways to get those 7-8 hours, they usually involve getting some sort of ritual going for your bedtime.
Loud noises and bright screens are bad. If you’re a self-diagnosed insomniac, maybe check and see if you’re playing Call of Duty until you hopefully doze off, or are sitting on your laptop until you pass out. These actions stimulate your brain and prevent you from falling asleep.
If you need to be asleep by a certain time, maybe try something crazy and dust off that textbook that’s been sitting above your desk all semester. Yoga, meditation, and deep breathing exercises before bed are all helpful for telling your brain it’s time to power down.
Cool it with the late night snacks and caffeine, and try to keep your bed use limited to sleep and sex. You have to train your brain, go Pavlov on it and classically condition. If you only use your bed when it’s time to sleep, your brain makes the association that it’s time for bed when your head hits the pillow.
Students from HEAL 450: Health Promotion Strategies will be at ECC and RCC from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. on Nov. 13 and Nov. 20, hosting tables to help with some sleep health awareness. Prizes and games will be included, so be sure to stop by.
Also, keep an eye out for posters, flyers, and the like going up around campus this month.

This article was submitted by the HEAL450: Health Promotion Strategies class.

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