UT University Health Services

Sleep

Sleep is essential to overall health and is closely linked to academic success.

Experts recommend getting 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night.

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.

Quick tips to get the most from your sleep

Avoid or minimize use of caffeine, nicotine, sugar, and alcohol as they disrupt your sleep cycle.
Beds are for sleep and sex.  Avoid studying, watching TV, and using other technology in bed.
Cue your body to sleep with a dark, comfortable, and quiet envir

Common Misconceptions about Sleep

  1. Caffeine and other stimulants help me push through that last hour of work, but it won't affect my sleep later. It's true that 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 oz. soda at 7pm, 50% of the caffeine will still be in your system at 11pm.
  2. Alcohol will help me sleep. While alcohol consumption may initially help some people fall asleep, it interferes with a restful night's sleep by interrupting the sleep cycle and increases the number of times you will wake up during the night. Passing out is not the same as going to sleep.
  3. I can "catch up" on sleep on the weekends. While weekends offer opportunity for a few extra hours for zzzz's (especially if you've stayed up later than usual), try to keep your weekend wake time within an hour or two of your weekday wake time. If you’re feeling tired during the day due to lack of nighttime sleep, we recommend scheduling a nap in the early afternoon. Check out our Nap Map for some student-vetted on-campus options!
  4. If I sleep, I'm missing out on valuable study time. Planning ahead can help you avoid all-nighters. In fact, getting 8 hours of sleep the night before a test has been shown in studies to be more beneficial to actual test performance than staying up all night to study. Visit the Sanger Learning Center to find help with time management.

Should I seek help?

See a 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 to keep you alert.
  • You have depression, chronic anxiety, pain, a change in medication, or any other condition that may affect your sleep.
  • You snore heavily or stop breathing at intervals during the night, often starting again with a gasp. If your roommate, spouse, or partner complains about your snoring, tell your healthcare provider.
  • Schedule an appointment with UHS by calling (512) 471-4955 or booking online or with CMHC by calling (512) 471-3515 or booking online

Helpful Links

Napping
Nap Map
Sleeping Better
Virginia Tech Schiffert Health Center "Sleeping Well"
The National Sleep Foundation
The Science of Sleep CBS 60 Minutes

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