By Shenandoah Briere
Intern, Oswego County Today
OSWEGO, NY – College students have ranked sleep as a contributing factor to academic success. But, many also said poor time management can cause problems, according to a spokesman for the Oswego State Mary Walker Lifestyles Center.
Even though students are suffering from lack of sleep, the Lifestyles Center doesn’t see many students come in for consultation regarding sleep, said Michelle Sloan, a health promotion coordinator for the Lifestyles Center.
Sloan said that even though students don’t seek help, the university knows that lack of sleep rates rise during midterm and finals week.
Sloan said this is because students often pull all-nighters studying for upcoming tests or writing papers.
In comparison with a national reference group, Oswego State students identified sleep as being an impediment to academic success Sloan said.
She said she sees many students come to the Lifestyles Center for time management help. She uses a time management sheet to advise them on better ways to balance their lives.
“There is always time for sleep,” Sloan said.
Time management was one area sophomore Jasmine Rochez said she sees many students struggling with, including herself.
She said it has even been the cause of her sleep problems.
As the semester goes on, it gets harder to balance everything from class and assignments to extracurricular activities, Rochez said.
“People want to party or they’re staying up late studying for a test or doing homework assignments. I think people need to balance out their time and hours including,” Rochez said. “I try to plan it out, but I don’t follow my plans. There’s so much to do. You want to be active on campus, you want to hang out with your friends, you want to have some free time and you have to get homework assignments done, so you know people have a hard time trying to do all of those.”
The research article “Causes and consequences of sleepiness among college students” found that irregular sleep schedules among college students was a leading factor for sleep deprivation.
The authors, Shelley Hershner and Ronald Chervin, who both work for the University of Michigan’s neurology department, wrote that sleep deprivation is a lack of adequate sleep to support sufficient daytime alertness.
Fifty percent of college students had daytime sleepiness and 70 percent had poor sleep, according to the research article.
According the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, insufficient sleep is a major health problem among all ages.
The CDC, along with several other research articles, found that lack of sleep can have several risk factors for college student’s education, along with their emotional, mental and physical well-being.
Educationally, the consequences include lower GPAs, a higher chance of academic failure and difficulty learning.
Other risks were a change in mood, sluggishness throughout the day making students prone to car accidents, greater chance of illness from a compromised immune system and falling asleep during the day.
A CDC study of sleep behaviors in 12 states found that almost 44 percent of 18- to 25-year-olds unintentionally fell asleep in the last month.
The second highest percentage was people age 65 and older.
Oswego State senior Reggie Debrah admits he has fallen asleep during the day, including during class.
He said that while he experiences sleep problems, he doesn’t feel the need to seek out medical help because “it is just something college students go through.”
“I don’t know. I feel like I’m used to it,” Debrah said. “I just grab a cup of coffee or tea or something to keep me awake.”
Debrah is like many other college students who use caffeine to suppress their tiredness. A 2008 study of freshmen at Marshall University found that 78 percent of them drank above the average recommended amount of caffeine.
When it comes to caffeine, the consumption of coffee for 18- to 24-year-olds saw an increase of a little more than 4 percent from 2016 to 2017, according to a report from the National Coffee Association.
The authors of the research article on sleep said that it is not only up to the students to get enough sleep, but universities as well. They said, “…university and college policies and class schedules that encourage healthy and adequate sleep could have significant impact on the sleep, learning and health of college student.”
However, Debrah said it would be hard for the college to implement such policies since most college students will just do whatever is necessary to ensure they are getting everything they want done.
“For most people, it’s like the first time you’re being alone and like mom and dad aren’t going to tell you it’s your bed time and to go to bed,” Debrah said. “You just make up your own rules and you just cut out some stuff from your life like sleep so that you have time for other things.”
Rochez said she would like to see residence halls doing events focused on sleep and time management because she wants to fix her sleep schedule.
Sloan said that the Lifestyles Center reaches out to students about sleep through their Toilet Talks, a health flyer distributed to bathrooms on campus and through other outreach programs such as presentations they give during summer orientation.
Shenandoah Briere is a Journalism Major and Public Justice Minor at SUNY Oswego. She is the Chief Copy Editor of The Oswegonian.