How to Optimize Your College Sleep Cycle

How To Optimize Your College Sleep CycleHow to Optimize Your College Sleep Cycle via SlugBooks

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Facts and stats about sleep.

  • Why sleep is essential: it recharges the brain, consolidates learning, releases important hormones and repairs your cells.
  • The body’s clock typically works on a 24.2 hour cycle.
  • The national sleep foundation suggests that adults need 7-9 hours of sleep on average.
  • Problems Associated with Lack of Sleep:
  • 23.2% of US adults report poorer concentration
  • 18.2% of US adults report forgetfulness
  • 13.3% of US adults report neglecting hobbies
  • 11.3% of US adults report difficulty driving
  • 10.5% of US adult report neglecting financial affairs
  • 8.6% of US adults report work interference
  • -35% of American adults sleep fewer than 7 hours a day.
  • -54% of American adults have symptoms of insomnia more than once a week.
  • -25% of American adults don’t get enough sleep to be alert.
  • -43.7% of 18-25 year olds in the US report falling asleep unintentionally in the daytime.
  • -50-70 million Americans have a sleeping disorder.

Sleeping Aids

  • 11% of adults in America use alcohol as a sleep aid
  • 7% of adults in America use prescription sleeping medication
  • 9% of adults in America use over-the-counter sleep aids

Sleep and the College Students

  • 70% of college students sleep less than 8 hours a night.
  • 68% of students have trouble falling asleep because of stress.
  • 12% of students with sleep problems miss or fall asleep in class three or more times a month.
  • 20% of students pull all-nighters at least once a month.
  • 35% of students stay up until 3am at least once a week.

Monophasic sleep has 5 stages

  • Stage 1: Lightest stage of sleep: the brain produces high amplitude theta waves.
  • Stage 2: Brain produces rhythmic brain wave activity know as sleep spindles.
  • Stage 3: Transition between light sleep and very deep sleep.
  • Stage 4: Slow brain waves known as delta waves are produced. Very deep sleep.
  • Stage 5: Dreaming occurs in this stage of sleep, also known as REM sleep. Brain and other body systems become more active but muscles further relax. 1-2 hours are spent in REM sleep each night.

Monophasic and polyphasic sleep

  • -Monophasic: 8 hours total sleep, within 1 block, 4 REM cycles, 33.3% of the day is spent asleep.
  • -Segmented Polyphasic: 7 hours of total sleep, within 2 sleep blocks, 29.2% of the day is spent asleep.
  • -Biphasic Polyphasic: 6.3-6.5 hours of total sleep, within 2 sleep blocks (1 core block of 5-6 hours, and 1 20-90 minute nap) – 26.4-27% of the day is spent asleep.
  • -Dual-core Polyphasic: 4.6-5.3 hours of total sleep, within 2-3 sleep blocks (1 core block of 2.5-3.5 hours, and 1-2 20 minute naps). 19.2-22.2% of day is spent asleep.
  • -Everyman Polyphasic: 2.8-5.2 hours of total sleep, within 3-6 sleep blocks (1 core block of 1.5-4.5 hours, and 2-5 20 minute naps. 11.8-21.5% of day is spent asleep.
  • -Dymaxion Polyphasic: 2 hours of total sleep, with 4 blocks (4 30 minute naps). Only 8.33% of day is spent asleep!
  • -Uberman Polyphasic: 2 hours of total sleep, with 6 blocks (6 20 minute naps). 8.33% of day is spent asleep.
  • Polyphasic sleep may cause poorer performance and log-term damage.

Health

  • Almost 80% of Americans agree that lack of sleep causes health issues.
  • 7 out of 10 Americans report that they are not getting the recommended 7.5+ hours of sleep each night.
  • Sleeping less than 6 hours 4x’es your chance of getting a stroke compared to people sleeping 7+ hours.
  • Sleeping less than 4 hours results in a 28% increase in ghrelin, a hormone that triggers hunger.
  • Americans with 9+ hours of sleep are more likely to engage in high intensity activities.

Napping

  • The best time to nap is during the afternoon (‘siesta’ time).
  • Naps in the morning may be less effective.
  • Naps in the evening may cause grogginess or oversleeping.
  • Over 50% of American adults nap at least once a week.

Other Sleep Tips

  • Stick to a regular sleep cycle
  • Eat meals at set times
  • Make sure you can wake up comfortably without an alarm clock – if not, go to bed earlier.
  • Don’t study in bed.
  • Don’t use electronics late at night.
  • Avoid caffeine and alcohol before bed.
  • Eat a small low-GI snack before bed.

Sources:

  • http://www.cdc.gov/features/dssleep/
  • http://www.theaggie.org/2010/02/17/sleep-deprivation-sours-amoung-college-students/
  • http://dustincurtis.com/sleep.html
  • http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=960783
  • http://bettersleep.org/better-sleep/the-science-of-sleep/sleep-statics-research
  • http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Polyphasic_sleep
  • http://www.supermemo.com/articles/polyphasic.html
  • http://www.supermemo.com/articles/polyphasic2010.htm
  • http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/31/sleep-tips-for-college-st_0_n_1846154.html
  • http://www.sleepandyou.com/about-sleep-stats.htm
  • http://psychology.about.com/od/statesofconsciousness/a/SleepStages.htm

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2 Responses

  1. Megan

    Love the infographic! I truly consider that lack of sleep is a huge issue for those in college and that students should be educated on the sleep hygiene.

    As for the tips for better sleep I would like to add these:
    – try to go to bed and wake up at the same time during the week and on weekends; avoid sleeping in, as it will ruin your internal clock.
    – avoid bright screens within 2 hours before your bedtime
    – if you can’t fall asleep practice relaxation techniques:
    visualize a peaceful place, do some deep breathing and practice progressive muscle relaxation.

    You can find more useful tips on staying healthy and productive in college on http://writethisessay.net/. Hope the above advice will be of some value.

    Reply

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