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The Young and the Restless Sleep and College Students

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As a college student I know what its like to have to change all previous routines and lose sleep, over studying, partying, and other people. So, I decided to take a deeper look into what it is that really affected how the college student slept. In this paper I will focus on 4 main reason that not only college students don't get the proper amount of sleep they require, but it also applies to other people around the world, sleep is an important thing it keeps our bodies restored and our memories functioning properly, therefore the slightest change in our sleep patters can throw us off.

The Young and the Restless

What causes changes in the Sleep Patterns of College Students?


Coming into college is not always an easy task. As a new college student, one might have to adapt to new environment. The new adaptations one faces may also lead to new habits and patterns. When leaving home for the first time to come live in a college residence hall the atmosphere completely changes. now there is a roommate, there are other people out in the halls and the greatest change is the new mixture of cultures and opinions. Papers, midterms, social lives, and school work are all things that affect the life of a typical college student; they are also what affect the amount of sleep that we get. These things can affect one's life so drastically that he or she may experience a change in sleep patterns. Stress, unhealthy eating habits, pulling all nighters, and health problems are all factors that keep us awake at night. Sleep is an important function that helps keep one's body on one accord, without it or changing it can become hazardous.

Why do We Sleep?

What exactly is the purpose and overall point of sleep? The Complete Book of Sleep: How Your Night Affect Your Days, authored by Dianne Hales, notes that "sleep is the foundation of your well being, your energy, and your appearance. The way you sleep is quite simply the way are" (29-30). This quote is basically stating that sleep keeps one's body in sync. If an individual's sleep is either increases or decreased greatly, that affects begin to become noticeable in the way the person lives his or her life. Noticeable changes may include the way the person dresses, their mood, and alertness. If a student is usually excited, dresses properly and neat everyday, and is always alert and ready to take action, and all of a sudden their grouchy, dress in jeans and a t-shirt, and begin to have a hard time staying focused and aren't as alert then most likely the lack of sleep may have something to do with the changes.

Stress and How it Affects Sleep

So what exactly does stress have to do with a person's sleep? When a person's body is well rested, that individual is able to function more properly and have a more natural way of clearly thinking through his or her thoughts and actions completely. Sleeping properly allows one's body to stay on track and properly deal with stress. David G. Myers' seventh edition of Exploring Psychology In Modules states that "stress is not just a stimulus or response [...]. It is the process by which we appraise and cope with environmental threats and challenges" (435). Individuals need some type of stress on a regular basis to help him or her learn to deal with situations in life.

Having the right amount of sleep and proper sleep pattern helps individuals to learn how to properly cope with stress and maintain a healthy balance in stress levels. Lacking sleep, or experiencing a constant change in one's sleep patterns, can cause a imbalance in stress levels and effect the way he/she copes with stress. Experiencing a surplus or a shortage in sleep can also affect one's health and stress levels. Being in college stress becomes a familiar friend to many. Especially when people become home sick, relationship begin to become shaky, and grades don't reach expectations, it's hard to focus because all that is on ones mind is the problems that they have. Many people deal with stress by saying I'll sleep it off, it'll all be over in the morning, but sitting up crying at night only makes things worse, you have to live with it or let it go, because your well being is depending on it. Although sleep is listed as one effective way to deal with stress, sleep all day is still not recommended.

You Are What You Eat

The biggest change that college students face is what they will eat. Many school cafeterias don't serve healthy foods, and the abundance of fast food restaurants in the area don't help out either. Being home with family gives individuals to sit down for family meals at designated times, but when entering college all this is out the window, because when work is due, and functions are being held on campus students eat when they can. What is included in the diet of a college student has a huge affect on sleeping. This is because certain foods have certain affects. According to an article by Rosanne Boyer titled How Does Diet Affect My Sleep?, there are certain foods and or drugs that individuals shouldn't consume right before bed. These items include:

 Caffeine: because caffeine stimulates the brain and interferes with sleep. Coffee, tea, sodas, cocoa, chocolate and some prescription and non-prescription drugs contain caffeine. It is okay to use caffeine during the day (preferably before lunch), but heavy or regular use can lead to sleep problems at night.

 Nicotine: nicotine is another stimulating drug that interferes with sleep, and nicotine withdrawal can also disrupt sleep. Cigarettes and some drugs contain nicotine. Smokers, who break the habit, once they overcome their withdrawal symptoms, can expect to fall asleep faster and sleep more soundly through the night.

 Alcohol: Alcohol slows down brain activity. If alcohol is used at bedtime, it may speed up the ability to fall asleep, but it will disrupt sleeping during the night.

 Meals: When you eat a full or heavy meal before bedtime it can interfere with your ability to fall asleep and stay asleep.

Knowing that these things cause sleep



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