How College Students Don’t Get Enough Sleep Due To Their Schedules and Habits

Junior (College 3rd year) ・Healthcare&Medicine ・MLA ・9 Sources

The globalization of work and the call for 24-hour economies across the globe is taking toll on people who have to balance irregular shifts to earn a living, attain physical fitness and get an education. College students are at their prime age where optimal functioning is required to create a solid foundation towards a bright future. The need to save some money to invest and acquire property is driving students to embark on part-time jobs where they operate in shifts to balance class attendance and work demands. Besides the quest to make extra money by students in college, several other factors have a bearing towards creating limited time available for students to have enough sleep. Sleep is detrimental for a balanced lifestyle. There is an implied relation and correlation between sleeping habits adopted, work and academic performance and the health of any given individual. The results of tight work, academic, health and social schedules culminate to sleep deprivation which has detrimental implications on individuals (Currie-McGhee 13). This research goes on to analyze secondary sources to establish the sleeping habits of college students and its implications as a result of time schedules and adopted lifestyles.

Research indicates that while the general public may consider the college life as marked with excess free time that allows students to sleep well and take enough rest, the actual situation is not as thought to be. College students are depicted as lacking enough repose, and the little time they get to rest and sleep is not quality enough for healthy living. The implications of lack of quality sleep in college students’ daily life are reflected in academic performances, emotional health and physiological well-being. The demands that accrue to a college student are immense in that they need to balance between class work, co-curricular activities and socializing. According to research by Terri Williams (2), who is a master’s degree graduate from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, the academic demands on a student are equivalent to a full-time job. Williams notes that, an average college student takes up to 13 academic units per semester. Each academic unit requires three hours of class attendance and an extra three hours per hour of class attendance. In a week, a student spends 39 hours in class and another unlimited number of hours required for personal studies depending on the ease of the subject. Besides the routine class work, college students are expected to take active roles in community service, sports and social events. The stringent time available leaves students with almost no time for a healthy sleep.

Another contributing factor towards the college students’ sleep deprivation is a long-awaited freedom. According to Williams (7), many college students experience life on their own for the first time when they are in school. College students are able to attend to social events, spend time socializing over the internet and visiting social places which may not be possible when one is living with their parents. Jacqueline Baltz from the University of Southern California notes that sleep deprivation is actually a norm for college students. Baltz notes that foregoing sleep in college is a celebrated norm. The freedom that comes along as a result of students living alone allows so much uncontrolled social and academic activities that renders sleep and rest non-priorities to the college students. Baltz notes the “fear of missing out” in students’ life that has made them addicted to their smartphones and computers. Students are pushed by the urge of continuously being engaged thus embarking on working out, partying and studying at all times, which leads to sleep deprivation. The use of caffeine is the refuge for many students as they try to cope with overworking and stress associated with college life (Baltz 1).

Student Sleeping Habits Data

Research conducted by Jawbone Blog UP device which is able to track sleeping patterns reveals a lot about student habitual and environmental factors that lead to sleep deprivation and the impacts on academic performance. The data represented below is on 18,498 students from 137 schools across the United States of America. The students as per research are defined as aged between 18 and 22 years old. The data was collected between 2013 and 2016 for three months each year between June and September.

The data reveals that college students across the given institutions slept for around 7.03 hours during the week days and an average of 7.38 hours during the weekends. According to the National Sleep Foundation (33), healthy sleeping hours for people between the age of 18 and 25 years should range from 7 and 9 hours of sleeping time. Also, the Foundation went on to note that sleeping between 6 and 11 hours for college students falling within the given age bracket is still healthy. The data reveals the average sleeping hours for college students as around 7 hours which is healthy according to the National Sleep Foundation. However, the data from the UP device indicates that students got less than 6 hours of sleep for the 46.2% of the nights under study.

The data indicates that female students get more sleep than male students. Women are seen to be getting 23 minutes of extra sleep compared to men on weekdays. Women go to sleep at an average time of 12:23 AM and wake up on the average at around 8:09 AM. Men, on the other hand, go to bed averagely 39 minutes after women, at 1.02 AM on weekdays, and wake up on the average at 8:31 AM which is 22minutes later than the women’s waking up time.

Sleeping Habits and academic Performance

The graph above shows a correlation between the average time of student sleep on weeknights and the academic score. The graph by the U.S. News and World Report depicts high levels of academic activities with low sleeping time. The Colombia University, which scored 4 according to the U.S. News and World Report had the latest average weekday bedtime as per the UP data in the previous analysis of 1.26 AM. The University of Nevada which had the U.S. News and World Report score of 187 had a high weekday night sleep of 7.21 (Pharmacy Times 4).

Sleep deprivation is also associated with unhealthy eating habits. According to Nature Communications (19), sleep deprivation affect brain functioning which hampers the brain cells which control appetite evaluation. Also sleep deprivation impairs judgment leading to desire for high-calorie snacks and caffeine to maintain the brain functions due to fatigue. Also according to Jollie (11), sleep deprivation causes brain damage. Lack of sleep increases brain molecules where S100 calcium binding protein B (S-100B) and Neuron-Specific Enolase (NSE) which indicates brain damage (Jollie 17).

The habits and the environment in colleges contribute largely to the sleep deprivation in college students. Stress is a major factor towards lack of sleep for college students as well as the use of caffeine. Demands from social events, co-curricular activities and class work put pressure on college students. Students are forced to forego the sleeping time in order to meet the demands in the daily activities. The environment in college is also quite inappropriate in some cases for one to attain quality rest and sleeping time. In most colleges, students live in dorms, campus houses or fraternities. The situation in the campus living environment is marked with disturbances from the other student’s noise and loud music. The indicators of the effects of sleep deprivation are manifested in the student’s irritability and moodiness, difficulties in retaining information and focusing, signs of impaired immune, falling asleep in class, slow reaction time and oversleeping (Huffington 23).

Works Cited

Baltz, Jacquelene. “Is Sleep Deprivation The New College Norm?” Huffingtonpost, April 4 2016. Updated April 05, 2017. Retrieved on November 30, 2017 from

Currie-McGhee, L K. What Are Sleep Disorders? Reference Point Press, 2016.

Huffington, Arianna. The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. Harmony, 2016.

Jollie, Ashley, and Jason. Ivanoff. The Effects of Sleep Deprivation on Attentional Vigilance and Resting-State Electroencephalography. Saint Mary’s University, 2016.

National Sleep Foundation. Place of publication not identified: WebSciences International, 2002. Internet resource.

Ross, Megan. “4 New Findings on College Students’ Sleep Habits.” Pharmacy Times, May 4, 2016. Retrieved on November 30, 2017 from

Williams, Larry. Sleep Deprivation. Hauppauge: Nova Science Publishers Inc., 2017. Internet resource.

Williams, Terri. “Does Sleep Deprivation Affect College Student Performance?” GoodCall, October 18, 2016. Retrieved on November 30, 2017 from

Wilt, Brian. “How University Students Sleep.” The Jawbone Blog, April 4, 2016. Retrieved on November 30, 2017 from

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