What’s the Ideal Sleep Schedule for Productivity?

 In College Life

You’ve probably heard that sleep deprivation isn’t good for your health, but did you know it can make you forget what you learned in class? Getting the right amount of sleep every night is a key component for learning. According to the Division of Sleep Medicine at Harvard Medical School, it’s not only harder to understand new information when you’re sleep deprived, it also causes us to “lose our ability to access previously learned information.” You can’t acquire new knowledge effectively without enough sleep.

How Much Sleep Do You Need Every Night?

Our sleep needs vary with age. Until around age 25, you are still growing and developing and your body needs extra sleep. The National Sleep Foundation’s research shows that a newborn baby needs between 14-17 hours of sleep every night, a high school aged teen needs 8-10 hours, while college students need 7-9.

What Happens if You Don’t Get Enough Sleep?

In addition to not being able to fully comprehend or remember what’s taught in class, sleep deprivation causes many other problems and health issues. Research performed by the National Institutes of Health shows that sleep deprivation can lead to:

  • Auto and Other Accidents
  • Depression, Suicide, and Risk-taking Behavior
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Increased Risk of Infections
  • High Blood Pressure
  • Heart Disease
  • Kidney Disease

Strategies for Getting Enough Sleep

College can seem like one of the most challenging times to get enough sleep every night. Your workload is heavy and there are more demands on your time than you’ve probably ever experienced before. Everyone you know is pulling an occasional all-nighter, or is at the very least running on a lot less than 9 hours of sleep a night.

But your college education isn’t going to do you much good if you can’t take it in or retain it due to sleep deprivation. And your health will definitely suffer under these conditions. Researchers at Stanford University write that even though college students are fairly well educated when it comes to the importance of exercise and nutrition, relatively few are aware of the dangers of sleep deprivation and the toll it will take on the very education they’re working so hard to attain!

Once you realize how vital it is to get a good night’s sleep every night, there are strategies you can use to achieve this. Try these:

Schedule Your Sleep!

You put going to workout with a friend on your calendar. All your classes are listed on a schedule. Make room on that same calendar for your sleep. If you have to take an early morning class, put it on your calendar that you have to go to bed earlier the night before.

Quiet Time Before Bedtime

Turn off your computer, stop checking your phone, and in general try to wind down a half hour or so before you go to bed. Take a hot shower or curl up with a good book. This will help you fall asleep quicker and also help you enjoy higher quality sleep.

Exercise Regularly

We know! One more thing you have to fit in to your crazy-busy schedule. But it’s worth finding the time for. Regular exercise brings a host of health benefits, and also helps insure regular, good nights of sleep.

Make a healthy amount of sleep a priority and you will see many benefits. Don’t think your time could be better spent on work or study. Neither your work nor your studies will be good quality if you’re sleep deprived!

PHOTO: Pixabay / CC0 Public Domain

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