An extra hour of sleep vs. an extra hour of studying

Melinda Kauffman

How important is sleep? Doctors and scientists stress the importance of getting at least nine hours of sleep for teenagers and young adults, but how ac- curate is that? If you look around, especially on a college campus, the majority of people probably do not get that much sleep each night.

According to research from the University of Georgia, college students average about six to seven hours of sleep a night. Al- though sleep is crucial to our health, I am not convinced that sleeping nine hours a night will solve all of your problems, either. In college, it may be especially hard to fall into a consistent sleep schedule, but being consistent with your sleep is more important than how long you sleep.

In order to develop healthy sleeping patterns, it is important to try to go to bed and wake up at the same time each day. This is difficult and I find myself never quite follow- ing this rule, but I have noticed that when I do, I feel much more rested. If you wake up around 7:15 a.m. during the week, try waking up between 7 and 8 a.m. on Saturday and Sun- day and, although it may sound painful, see how you feel later on and then make your judgment.

Another helpful way to be consistent with your sleep schedule is to take shorter naps. If you like to take naps, try your best to limit them. Try taking a mid-afternoon nap for twenty to thirty minutes so that your body can feel rested and ready to go until bedtime later on in the evening.

It is also helpful if you cannot fall asleep when you want to, to get up and do something, rather than lay awake in your bed. However, I do not recommend get- ting on your phone or tab- let as these devices emit blue light, which can actually keep you awake.

When it comes down to finishing the last 10 math problems or getting an extra thirty minutes of sleep, it’s up to you. If you feel as though your brain can power through a few more problems, go for it. If your brain can no longer form logical thoughts, put down the books and climb into bed. Listen to what your body is telling you and go with your instinct. Every person is different and everybody needs a different amount of rest. Establish a somewhat consistent sleep schedule and avoid drink- ing coffee late at night. I guarantee you will wake up the next morning a new person.