Opinion

College students struggle to prioritize sleep

by Emma Crowder

Plainsman Online

For college students, it can be difficult to find the time to get good rest while

trying to balance school, work and social life.

More often than not, college students and young adults will only sleep for a

few hours each night and wake up feeling more exhausted than before they fell

asleep. So, how can a person make the most out of those few hours and wake up

feeling refreshed and well rested, rather than drained in the morning?

There are many aspects in our waking lives that play a big part in how we

sleep. Aspects such as mental health, the food people eat, the light people are

exposed to, and the amount of exercise a person gets throughout the day, can

all affect the way a person sleeps.  The food that a person consumes during the

day plays a big role in how well a person sleeps. Researchers, including

nutritionists and sleep experts, have conducted different types of studies to try to

discover the best foods for good sleep.

Although this research is not conclusive, there are indications that certain

foods can make you sleepy or promote better sleep. Sometimes this is based on a

particular research study. In other cases, it is based on the underlying nutritional

components of the food. Having a controlled diet and healthy daytime eating

habits also have positive effects on a person’s mental and physical health, two

things that can also affect a person’s sleep.

     Aside from what goes into the body and what goes on mentally, there are also

many factors outside the body that can affect a person’s sleep. One factor is

 optimizing the environment where sleep occurs. Setting the tone for

a good night’s sleep is extremely important in order for the body to fall asleep

faster and more peacefully.

A few things require special attention in order to achieve this goal.

Temperature, noise, external lights, furniture and the arrangement of one’s

bedroom should all be considered when trying to attain better sleep. Studies have

also shown that external noise, usually from traffic, can cause poor sleep and

long-term health issues.

     Another factor that plays a big part in how a person sleeps is access to

Iphones/smartphones. Why would smartphones cause a person to sleep less or

have trouble sleeping? Unlike other electronic devices, smartphones are small

and portable, which makes them easily held by hand in bed. The largest issue

with smartphones involving sleep is that the last thing most people do each day is

browse their mobile phones before going to sleep at night. Responding to text

messages, emails and scrolling through social media is mentally and emotionally

stimulating. Doing so directly before going to bed leads to disturbed sleep.

     There’s a psychological response as well. The blue light emitted by

smartphones and tablets simulates daylight, inhibiting the brain’s production of

melatonin. Melatonin is a natural hormone released in the brain that helps the

body know when it is time to sleep and time to wake up. Normally, the body

produces more melatonin at night when it is dark out. Because the production of

this hormone is affected by light, using electronics late at night can decrease your

body’s melatonin levels, which can lead to trouble falling asleep and can create

an unbalanced sleep schedule.

     When these factors are taken into consideration, it becomes much

more simple to correct the body’s sleep cycle. Getting good sleep and having an

established sleep schedule are important, because without good sleep, the body

lacks enough energy to get through the day and accomplish tasks that need

completing.

A person’s moods, productivity and physical appearance are all dependent on

how much sleep they are getting. So it is extremely important to focus on finding

the body’s natural sleeping rhythm and practicing things such as a healthy diet

and avoiding electronics at night in order to achieve the best sleep. 

Categories: Opinion

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