Sleep

Getting an average of eight hours of quality sleep per night is an important part of overall health and academic success. The benefits of sufficient sleep are numerous, especially for students, as sleep is essential for increased memory consolidation, learning, decision making and critical thinking. Studies show that students who receive seven to nine hours of sleep had higher grade point averages than students who didn’t get seven to nine hours of sleep regularly (Yu & Arendt, 2017).

What happens when you sleep.
Memories are consolidated and stored (necessary for learning).
Ability to concentrate and pay attention is restored.
Muscles repair and recover.
Metabolism is regulated.
Maintain better mental health and physical health.
What happens when you don’t sleep.
Judgment and concentration are impaired.
Release of more appetite stimulating hormones that can consequently result in weight gain.
Immune system is suppressed and increases risk of illness.
Emotions are heightened, causing irritability, anger, and or anxiety.
Reaction time is slowed and more accidents occur.

Setting Up Your Room For Success

Click on the numbers in the image below to learn how each item in your room help contribute to a succesful night's sleep.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 bedroom

Busting Myths with Super Sleeper

sleep super hero

Myth

Fact

Caffeine and other stimulants help me push through that last hour of work and won't affect my sleep later.

Stimulants may help you stay awake or alert for a given amount of time, but the substances stay in your body long after that initial jolt. If you drink a 12 ounce soda at 7:00pm, 50 percent of the caffeine will still be in your system at 11:00pm.

Alcohol, cannabis or other substances will help me sleep.

While alcohol or cannabis consumption may initially help some people fall asleep, they interfere with a restful night's sleep by interrupting the sleep cycle and increasing the number of times you wake up during the night. Passing out is not the same as going to sleep.

I can catch up on sleep on the weekends.

Weekends offer opportunity for a few extra hours for Zzzs (especially if you've stayed up later than usual), but try to keep weekend wake time within an hour or two of your weekday wake time. If you feel tired during the day due to lack of nighttime sleep, schedule a nap in the early afternoon. Check out our Nap Map for some student-vetted on-campus options!

If I sleep, I'm missing out on valuable study time.

Planning ahead can help you avoid all-nighters. Studies show that getting eight hours of sleep the night before a test is more beneficial to test performance than staying up all night to study. Visit the Sanger Learning Center to find help with time management.

My electronic devices don’t impact my sleep.

Studies (Twenge et al 2017, Falbe et al 2015, Li et al 2019) show that blue light emitted by electronics simulates daylight and interrupts the brain’s production of melatonin—the hormone that controls our sleep. Also, the excess stimulation of social media, videos, articles, etc. we engage with on our devices can reduce your ability to fall asleep. It is best to put away devices one to two hours before bed or, at the very least, use a blue-light filter starting at 7:00 to 8:00pm. Many of these filters come pre-loaded on your phone or tablet (i.e. Night Shift on Apple products). Check out our Apps to Help You Sleep and Unplug to Dream handout for more information.

There’s nothing I can do about my roommate affecting my sleep.

Talking to your roommates about your preferred sleep schedules, noise levels and social activities can help all of you sleep better, develop healthier habits, set appropriate boundaries and make your living situation more enjoyable. It’s best to talk about preferences early on. Check in throughout your time living together, not just when issues arise. If you need support, try bringing in your RA or using a mediator such as an impartial friend or the UT Ombuds.
Learn more about roommate success.

My mental health and sleep are not connected.

Navigating the demands of college can come at the risk of students sacrificing sleep or struggling with sleep as they seek success. Research shows that sleep problems - even just temporary disruptions to generally healthy sleep - can have a negative impact on mental health. This places college students at a risk for experiencing fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression. Tracking your sleep through the Sleep Diary or utilizing new Sleep Strategies can help you get a better idea of factors that could be contributing to poorer quality sleep. UHS, CMHC or other healthcare providers can be helpful resources.
Caffeine and other stimulants help me push through that last hour of work and won't affect my sleep later.

Stimulants may help you stay awake or alert for a given amount of time, but the substances stay in your body long after that initial jolt. If you drink a 12 ounce soda at 7:00pm, 50 percent of the caffeine will still be in your system at 11:00pm.

Alcohol, cannabis or other substances will help me sleep.

While alcohol or cannabis consumption may initially help some people fall asleep, they interfere with a restful night's sleep by interrupting the sleep cycle and increasing the number of times you wake up during the night. Passing out is not the same as going to sleep.

I can catch up on sleep on the weekends.

Weekends offer opportunity for a few extra hours for Zzzs (especially if you've stayed up later than usual), but try to keep weekend wake time within an hour or two of your weekday wake time. If you feel tired during the day due to lack of nighttime sleep, schedule a nap in the early afternoon. Check out our Nap Map for some student-vetted on-campus options!

If I sleep, I'm missing out on valuable study time.

Planning ahead can help you avoid all-nighters. Studies show that getting eight hours of sleep the night before a test is more beneficial to test performance than staying up all night to study. Visit the Sanger Learning Center to find help with time management.

My electronic devices don’t impact my sleep.

Studies (Twenge et al 2017, Falbe et al 2015, Li et al 2019) show that blue light emitted by electronics simulates daylight and interrupts the brain’s production of melatonin—the hormone that controls our sleep. Also, the excess stimulation of social media, videos, articles, etc. we engage with on our devices can reduce your ability to fall asleep. It is best to put away devices one to two hours before bed or, at the very least, use a blue-light filter starting at 7:00 to 8:00pm. Many of these filters come pre-loaded on your phone or tablet (i.e. Night Shift on Apple products). Check out our Apps to Help You Sleep and Unplug to Dream handout for more information.

There’s nothing I can do about my roommate affecting my sleep.

Talking to your roommates about your preferred sleep schedules, noise levels and social activities can help all of you sleep better, develop healthier habits, set appropriate boundaries and make your living situation more enjoyable. It’s best to talk about preferences early on. Check in throughout your time living together, not just when issues arise. If you need support, try bringing in your RA or using a mediator such as an impartial friend or the UT Ombuds.
Learn more about roommate success.

My mental health and sleep are not connected.

Navigating the demands of college can come at the risk of students sacrificing sleep or struggling with sleep as they seek success. Research shows that sleep problems - even just temporary disruptions to generally healthy sleep - can have a negative impact on mental health. This places college students at a risk for experiencing fatigue, anxiety, stress and depression. Tracking your sleep through the Sleep Diary or utilizing new Sleep Strategies can help you get a better idea of factors that could be contributing to poorer quality sleep. UHS, CMHC or other healthcare providers can be helpful resources.

Need More Support? We’re Here to Help!

Schedule an appointment with UHS, CMHC or another healthcare provider if you experience any of the following problems:

  • Your sleep problems interfere with school, work or relationships with friends or family.
  • You rely on sleep aids or alcohol to make you sleep or on amphetamines or stimulants (or other substances) to keep you alert.
  • You have no control when and where you fall asleep.
  • You have depression, chronic anxiety, pain, a change in medication or another condition that affects your sleep.
  • You snore heavily or stop breathing at intervals during the night, often starting to breathe again with a gasp. Your roommate, spouse or partner complains about your snoring.

Helpful Links

Napping
Nap Map
Sleeping Better
Virginia Tech Schiffert Health Center "Sleeping Well"
The National Sleep Foundation
Sleeping Well in the Digital Age

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