Written by Tiarra Bell, Staff Writer
It’s hard enough to get the rest that is needed each night, but with the end of Daylight Saving Time, everyone can finally get their precious extra hour of sleep.
For college students, chances are they’re not getting enough sleep. On average, most college students get 6 to 6.9 hours of sleep per night, and the college years are notorious for sleep-depravity due to excess activities.
Research at Brown University found that nearly 11 percent of students report good sleep, while 73 percent report sleep problems.
Sleep deprivation in students has been linked to lower GPAs because sleep affects concentration, memory and the ability to learn. Students who get seven to eight hours of sleep each night have higher GPAs than students who get six or fewer.
VSU junior, Dominic Ligon, is among the students at Valdosta State University who get the required eight hours of sleep each night.
“The extra hour of sleep helped me a lot,” Ligon said. “With the extra hour, I wake up earlier than I would normally, but I still feel refreshed throughout the day.
Without my eight hours of sleep, I’m extremely tired and have a tough time functioning.”
As opposed to Dominic Ligon, VSU senior, Lisa Clark, can perform to the best of her abilities with only six to seven hours of sleep.
“I usually do better when I get six to seven hours of sleep,” Clark said. “If I get more than seven, I’m usually sleepier than if I get six hours. When time goes forward, that’s when it throws me off.”
While some people may be able to function with less of sleep, getting a proper night’s rest is more important than many people believe. It restores energy, promotes a positive mood throughout the day, helps the mind think more clearly, and it strengthens memory.
In addition, a 2010 study done by Journal of Safety Research, found that the extra hour of sleep helped decrease the number of car accidents. Other studies—like the 1996 study done by Stanley Coren, psychology professor at University of British Columbia—found that when time moves forward, car accidents, heart attacks, and injuries at work all increases. However, the report shows when the clock goes back, car accidents and heart attacks decrease.
Compared to the jetlag feeling that comes when time springs forward when it takes the body up to a week to return to normal, it only takes up to one night when time goes back.
Another positive effect of the time change is that many people may go to bed earlier, because it gets darker sooner.
If it takes longer than usual to get used to the time change, there’s a couple of tips that could help.
Remind your brain it’s not time for bed yet by turning on lights around your house or apartment. Conversely, turn off all lights for quicker adaption to the time change.
Practicing good sleep hygiene will also make it easier to fall asleep, stay asleep, and sleep soundly. Sleep hygiene is a term used to describe behavioral and environmental practices for a better quality siesta.
Things that college students can do to improve sleep hygiene includes exercising several hours before bedtime, reducing or eliminating caffeine and alcohol, doing calming rituals before bed to gradually relax yourself (taking a hot bath for example), and wearing ear plugs and/or eye masks.