Each week The Lantern speaks with experts at Ohio State for the latest in student health and wellness tips and news.
Sleep can be elusive. With a mountain of homework steadily rising on the desk and notes to go over for future exams, making time for just a quick nap can seem daunting and at times downright impossible. But there is hope! Michaela Martin, the wellness coordinator in the Student Life Student Wellness Center, discusses healthy sleeping patterns with The Lantern.
Q: How much sleep should the average college-aged student aim for?
A: The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for young adults ages 18-25.
Q: How can students establish a healthy sleeping pattern?
A: 18.8 percent of students reported having an extremely hard time falling asleep, and only 11 percent felt well rested when they woke up the next day, according to data from the National College Health Assessment in 2014. Establishing a nightly routine can help change these numbers. Go to bed around the same time each night and wake up the same time each day even on weekends and even when your (Monday-Wednesday-Friday) differ from (Tuesday-Thursday) classes. Your body will develop a natural sleep schedule if you keep things the same.
Q: What are some tips and tricks for falling asleep easier when your head hits the pillow?
A: Unplug at least 30 minutes before. Unplug from cellphone usage, TV, laptop, etc. The light from electronic screens tricks your mind into thinking it is daytime, thus making it harder to fall asleep. Read a book. Stop caffeine at least eight hours before bed because it takes just about that much time for caffeine to process through your body. Drinking chamomile tea before bed has proven to be calming and helps ease the mind. If your mind won’t stop racing, making a to-do list (or) schedule for the next day has shown to calm the mind.
Q: Is it better to stay up and cram for an exam or to get those extra couple hours of sleep? Why?
A: Extra hours of sleep! 15.2 percent of students reported receiving a lower grade on an exam due to lack of sleep, according to data from the National College Health Assessment in 2014, so pulling an all-nighter is worse for your exam score and your health. Establishing a good study pattern is much better for you and more effective when preparing for big exams.