Impact of Sleep Hygiene and Sleep Quality on the Well-Being of College students

Shreyah Mantri

28 Nov 2020
Impact of Sleep on Student

There comes a time in life when one turns away from childhood and aspire to being adults. Sometimes one may even ask ‘real’ adults what it’s like to be one. Emerging adulthood is a time to explore careers, self-identity, and commitments. Since the young adults are experimenting, they often get their first taste of real independent achievement and of disappointment. From a psychological perspective, becoming an adult means interacting with the world in a different way. Behaviourally, a major difference marked between adolescence and adulthood is the significant drop in the frequency of reckless behaviour as driving at high speed, having sex without contraception, or committing antisocial acts like vandalism (Arnett & Taber, 1994). In the span of young adulthood certain physical abilities, like, muscle development, coordination and sensory acuity tend to be at its peak.

Along with the physical changes that occur, as one ages, change in sleep patterns are considered normal. It is a common myth that sleep needs reduces with age. In fact, research determines that our sleep needs remain persistent throughout adulthood. Young adults are well known for not getting enough sleep, with most only averaging six hours a night. Young adults usually need an average of 7.5 and 8 hours of sleep every night (slightly more or less). The transition from adolescence to young adulthood brings about a big change in sleep patterns. Sleep is becoming dissatisfying: one might not sleep as well and feel less rested in the morning.

Sleep plays a very important part in the health of an individual. Evidences have shown a connection of poor sleep with cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and metabolic-dysfunctions. It is an important part of human existence, necessary for good health and Well-Being. A number of adverse effects of not sleeping well were established: people could feel tired, irritable, have inattention and impaired everyday functioning at work or studies.

Acquiring healthy sleep is necessary for both physical as well as mental health. It can also improve one’s productivity and overall quality of life. People of every age group can benefit from practising good sleep. The various factors that cause interference in sleep is their age, demands of their occupation, their physiological and psychosocial traits, psychiatric illness or physical illness.

Despite its biological necessity, sleep is being ignored in modern societies to adapt social and work schedules. Many studies have presented sleep disturbance and poor Sleep Quality having an adverse physiological consequence. Developmental changes that occur at puberty, may lead to delayed bedtimes throughout the week, causing short sleep duration on school days. Trying to compensate sleep on weekends for the sleep debt created on weekdays disturbs the whole mechanism of the human body.

College students are well known for changing sleep schedules. When college life begins, the students face lot of hurdles like new schedules and environment, social commitments as well as academic stress. So in most of them sleeping habits reshape, they go late to bed, and get up early for their schedule. This results into reduction of total sleep time. Students who take sufficient sleep may also have problems with sleepiness due to other sleep problems. These problems have not adequately been judged but even ignored among Indian students.

The natural sleep structure is reconstructing due to need of the modern lifestyle. There is an increase in commercial, industrial and other activities throughout the night to achieve and produce more. 24X7 entertainment industry, internet, mobile phones, smart phones and many other IT technologies have artificially extended the daytime. It has changed the sleep patterns of humans. Social media and late night partying are also some factors of disturbed sleep patterns. College students also abandon sleep for studies, completing assignments and other academic activities. Thus changes in sleep schedule are commonly seen among college students. Irregular bed time is associated with poor Sleep Quality and reduced sleep time. College students are more susceptible to risk taking behaviours such as addictions, smoking and consumption of alcohol. Extended periods of time with lack of sleep can lead to negative changes such as hallucinations and poor mental clarity. Many studies have pointed that majority of car accidents with lack of sleep. Students who sleep for one to two hours a night have a tendency to accumulate a “sleep debt” which leads to excessive daytime sleepiness.

It is well known that Sleep Quality has behavioural and physiological consequences that might affect students’ health, Well-Being, and academic aspect positively or negatively. Good Sleep Hygiene includes a regular sleep–wake schedule, quiet sleep environment and evade from caffeine after lunch and restorative activities before bed. Studies have shown that college students do not have much knowledge about the Sleep Hygiene practices. Sleep Hygiene can be defined as a collection of behaviours and environmental conditions that aim to ensure a good quality sleep. It also helps to avoid or treat certain sleep disorders. Some of the barriers to Sleep Hygiene can be as follows:

* Stress
* Alcohol
* Caffeine
* Drugs
* Living arrangements
* Technology

Documenting physical health, may not give a total picture of general health. Sleep researchers have found that good sleep sets up the brain for positive feelings. In positive psychology, the technical term for happiness is subjective Well-Being. It is well known that Sleep Quality, Well-being and effectivity are negatively affected by stress and that their decline has negative impacts on general health. Realizing the disturbed sleep patterns among college students, more sleep studies have been done and published in recent years. Due to different ethnicity, lifestyle and culture, findings obtained from one population might not necessarily be true for another population. As seen earlier, the knowledge of Sleep Hygiene was seen to be poor among college students. It was also noted that poor Sleep Hygiene practices led to poor Sleep Quality causing adverse effects not only on physical health but also on the psychological Well-Being among the college students.

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