Daylights Savings brings awareness to sleep habits
Don’t forget to set your clocks ahead and grab a cup of coffee on March 13 when we lose an hour of sleep and “spring forward” for Daylight Savings Time.
With the lost hour of sleep this month, the National Sleep Foundation asks you to focus on your sleep habit. This is especially important with the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently reporting that 35 percent of U.S. adults are not getting enough sleep.
March is National Sleep Awareness Month, with National Sleep Awareness Week happening from March 6 until March 13, the day the time changes. The National Sleep Foundation aims to use the hashtag #7Days4BetterSleep to raise awareness for the health advantages of proper sleep and “its importance to safety and productivity,” according to their website. How lucky for Olivet students that this week falls on spring break.
According to the CDC, sleeping fewer than seven hours nightly is linked to an increased risk for obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, coronary heart disease, stroke, frequent mental distress and death. 83.6 million people age 18 and over in the U.S., according to the report, suffer from sleep deprivation. The CDC report also noted, “employment and higher education might be determinants of healthy sleep” – a fact that may not come as a shock to university students.
Olivet Nazarene University psychology professor Dale Smith, who also conducts sleep research at the University of Chicago, said that research suggests there are two main causes for lack of sleep in college students.
“The first [cause] is behavioral, and simply involves making decisions to engage in activities other than sleep. This could be studying, socializing, etc.,” Smith said. “The second [cause] is physiological, meaning some people simply have difficulty sleeping due to stimulants, sleep disorders, etc.”
However, the CDC report added that “Insomnia symptoms, such as trouble falling or staying asleep can usually be resolved with improved sleep habits or psychological or behavioral therapies.”
While the CDC noted health complications of sleep deprivation, Smith said there have also been relationships established between “simple things like sleep duration or time a student usually goes to bed and college GPA.”
Smith said that while “theories differ in exactly how much sleep a young adult needs, and each person is likely different… The majority of college students are considered sleep deprived.”
According to the CDC, some of the best ways to promote healthy sleep include making a habit of going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning, keeping the sleep environment is quiet and dark, turning off or removing electronics and avoiding large meals, nicotine, alcohol and caffeine before bed.
—Taylor Provost, News Editor