Today: Jun 19, 2024

Eight hours of sleep for college students helps overall wellness

 Kristina James — Staff Writer

The room filled with laughter as Nicole Velazquez described the playlist she listened to in high school to put her­self to sleep.

“I can remember, it was like Disney music,” Velazquez said while laughing. “There were three “Twilight” songs, “Wish upon a Star” by Jesse McCartney, and songs with nice piano playing. The piano was calming.”

Velazquez, a junior psychology major at SCSU, said she was sleep deprived in high school due to her participation in several extracurricular activities, and it has only gotten worse since she became a college student.

“I took out the activi­ties but I added six classes, was working six-hour shifts, and joined a sorority,” she said.

According to Cyrena Duncan, graduate intern for the Health and Wellness Center, one of the main complaints heard from a college student is how exhausting college can be.

Duncan, along with Brigitte Stiles, associate director of the Health and Wellness Center, provided students with information on the importance of sleep on Wednesday, April 4, during the Sleep 8 Feel Great program, which is part of the Well­ness Wednesday series.

Duncan said 60 percent of college students say they are sleep deprived and 30 percent admit to falling asleep in class at least once a week.

According to, col­lege students are supposed to get, on aver­age, at least nine hours of sleep a night.

“Most college students average only six to seven hours, and very often they get much less,” according to the website.

Rashawna Butler, freshman nursing major at SCSU, said she only receives about five to six hours a night of sleeping.

“In high school I went to sleep around 1 or 2 a.m.,” Butler said. “Now, it’s 3 or 4 a.m. because I have to write more papers and I am the type of person who gets an assignment and has to do it as soon as it’s assigned. So, I will stay up as long as it takes to get it done.”

According to Stiles, the key to col­lege students getting more sleep is time management.

“It’s being able to balance everything,” Stiles said. “Students have to learn how to balance school, work and a social life.”

Nicole Stoudmire, junior nursing major at SCSU, said she believes she has a healthy balance in her life. She said even though she works 30 hours a week at Home Depot and takes classes part time, she still manages to spend quality time with her friends and family.

“I have found that I really only need about six-and-a-half-hours of sleep a night,” she said. “Anything less than that and I can’t function.”

Latrice McIntyre, 22 from Norwalk, said she has been having trouble focusing and functioning due to her struggles with insomnia, which according to WebMD, is a disorder that keeps people from falling asleep or staying sleep.

“It’s why I had to quit school,” McIn­tyre said. “I couldn’t focus in class to take notes because I was so tired and I was run­ning on only two or three hours of sleep a night.”

Insomnia is one of the three sleep disorders Duncan spoke about during the Sleep 8 event. The other disorders were Sleep Apnea and Narcolepsy.

Sleep Apnea, according to the Pie­, is when people stop breathing repeatedly in their sleep, due to the airway collapsing 30 times an hour, or more, per night.

“Airway collapse may be due to such factors as a large tongue, extra tissue in the airway, or decreased muscle tone holding the airway open,” according to the website.

Narcolepsy, on the other hand, is the constant feeling of sleepiness during the day, according to Duncan.

The Narcolepsy Network said people experiencing Excessive Daytime Sleepiness have an overwhelming sense of being tired and feeling fatigued throughout each day no matter how much sleep they had the night before.

Stiles said symptoms of Narcolepsy could include sleep attacks during activities or dreaming right while awake and feeling paralyzed.

After hearing about these symptoms, Butler said she could remember experienc­ing at least two: immediate dreaming and a temporary feeling of paralyze.

“There have been times when I would doze off and automatically start dream­ing,” Butler said. “I can remember trying to open my eyes and move, but for some reason I was just stuck.”

While there are some treatments for Narcolepsy and the other sleep disorders, according to Duncan the one treatment that connects them all are lifestyle adjustments.

Duncan said some of these adjust­ments include exercise, setting a regular bedtime, napping no later than eight hours before that set time and eating one or more of the 10 bedtime foods before going to bed.

According to Duncan, some of these bedtime foods are bananas, honey, oatmeal chamomile tea and turkey.

Velazquez said she felt the program was a great learning experience and felt her sorority sisters, could benefit from it.

“I would recommend this program for incoming freshmen as well,” Velazquez said. “This is something freshmen need to know as soon as they get into college.”

Stiles said she and the Health and Wellness Center would be willing to repeat this program for any group looking for ways to improve their sleep patterns

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