College students are among the most sleep-deprived people in the country. This may be due to the irregularity of their sleeping habits. According to a 2001 study, only 11% of college students have good sleep quality, and 73% have occasional sleep problems. This same study found that 18% of college men and 30% of college women reported suffering from insomnia within the past 3 months, and over half reported feeling sleepy during the morning.
Most people need to sleep about 8 hours each night. This is especially true for college students, since the deep sleep that occurs early in the night and the dream sleep that occurs later in the night are both required to learn. But the necessary amount of sleep varies from individual to individual. This is one case where quality is more important than quantity - if you feel alert and rested during the day, you've probably gotten enough sleep.
How to get a better night’s sleep
Relax! An alert mind may make it difficult to sleep. Try to slow the pace of your activities in the evening. Do some light reading or watch TV until you become drowsy, and then try to fall asleep naturally. If there's a lot on your mind, try writing down a detailed list and then forgetting about it.
Avoid or limit caffeine and nicotine, which are stimulants, and alcohol, which can cause restless sleep and frequent awakenings during the night.
Exercise and stay active. Twenty to 30 minutes of vigorous physical activity enhances deep sleep, but avoid exercising in the 6 hours before bedtime since it increases alertness.
Avoid long naps. Naps of less than 30 minutes can actually be quite refreshing during the naturally occurring mid-afternoon slump, but napping for much longer than this can make you drowsy and interfere with a good night's sleep.
Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. A regular sleep pattern reduces insomnia, and increases your alertness during the day. Try to begin this sleep pattern a couple of weeks before classes start so you are less tired in class.