How to adult: Napping in college

Students often turn to caffeine to keep awake during homework marathons, but late-night Starbucks runs are not a great idea for healthy sleep schedules.

FARRAH GOODALL | STAFF REPORTER | fgoodall@butler.edu

Sleep is a basic need, but college students are under the impression it is possible to survive without it. Technically, you have known how to sleep since you were a baby, but it seems Butler students are in need of a refresher course.

How much sleep should I be getting?

On average, college students are only getting six to 6.9 hours of sleep a night when young adults should be aiming for seven to eight hours, according to the University of Health for the University of Georgia. However impossible that may seem in light of the many papers and presentations that students scramble to do late at night, prioritization is key. Instead of procrastinating at an extracurricular event, use your time wisely and get the important academic assignment out of the way, so your body is not suffering the next day from lack of proper sleep.

But I can still take power naps, right?

Naps are a common solution to missed sleep, but are only effective when taken properly.

“It is important not to become too dependent on naps because, unfortunately, there is no catching up on lost sleep,” said HRC fitness coordinator Natalie Szocs. “If you are too tired to the point you absolutely need a nap, then a 20 to 30 minute nap should be enough to give you the energy you need.”

What about all those late night texts I have to send?

The blue light produced by technical devices is perceived as sunlight by the brain, so using these devices before bed makes it harder to fall asleep because the brain is ready to work. Try to shut off your phone, laptop or television an hour prior to attempting to fall asleep.

Is midnight snacking bad for my sleeping habits?

Late-night snacking does not have to be avoided entirely, just unhealthy snacking. Avoid foods high in sugar and carbohydrates before bed, as these ingredients tend to spike blood pressure, making it more difficult to fall asleep. Also, say no to that late-night Starbucks run regardless of how late it is open. Caffeine is best consumed in the morning or first half of the day in order to avoid sleepless nights.

What are the benefits of getting a good night’s sleep?

Obviously sleep is beneficial to help you not fall asleep in class, but it also has other benefits, including better weight control and overall awareness.

“Sleep is also an important time for your brain to develop and retain information,” Szocs said. “If you aren’t sleeping, you may not be optimizing the information you are learning in school.”

Prioritization with less procrastination can lead to increased hours of sleep, and saying no to Netflix binging never hurt anyone either. Everyone tends to love the sleep they do get, so make sure you’re getting enough of it.

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