Better night’s sleep just an off switch away

College students generally have multiple responsibilities and with so many tasks, sleep can often become a low priority.

“It’s [normal] to be a college student and need eight to nine hours of sleep,” said Cecile Marczinski, associate professor of psychology.

Students like Emile Lubeck, a junior web design major, don’t get the normal eight to nine hours of sleep.

“The reason I stay awake is because of my friends,” Lubeck said. “They are all nocturnal people, which causes me to stay up as well.”

These “nocturnal people” tend to convince themselves that running on less sleep doesn’t affect them, said Angela Lipsitz, assistant chair and professor of psychology.

“People think that they do fine on less sleep, but they’re usually deluding themselves,” Lipsitz said.

There are two different kinds of sleep, REM (Rapid Eye Movement) and Non-REM, Lipsitz explained.

“The typical student would have four to six cycles of Non-REM and REM throughout the course of the night,” Lipsitz said. “You have each type of sleep multiple times during the night. On average, it’s about a 90-minute cycle, although that varies person-to-person. The length of REM periods tends to increase over the night.”

“In one night, I will get anywhere from five to six hours of sleep. But, only three hours of REM sleep,” Lubeck said.

Getting too little sleep can affect a persons body both physically and mentally, according to Lipsitz.

Not getting enough sleep can affect cognitive skills, judgment and motor skill accuracy Lipsitz explained.

Lubeck is one of these students who is affected by sleep deprivation. When she doesn’t get enough sleep, her performance in school is affected. Marczinski said that cognitive skills are needed for optimum class performance.

“I can’t concentrate because everything that moves distracts me,” Lubeck said.

One of the reasons why we don’t get enough sleep is the fact that we waste a lot of time. Marczinski gave the suggestion to “set up rules for yourself” to help get a better night’s sleep.

“You can learn how to manage your time better,” Marczinski said, “but you have to sort of be intentional with the process of managing your time.”

Lipsitz said students around the country are too overscheduled, and forget to take the time to not only study, but to relax and get a good nights rest.

“People are trying to work too much, take too many hours and do too many activities. One thing [to help] would be cutting down work hours,” Lipsitz said.

Managing the use of electronic devices is also a key factor in getting a good night’s sleep, Lipsitz said.

“People have their cell phones and computers going off and making beeps all the time and that makes it hard to sleep,” Lipsitz said. “Sometimes it’s the sound or sometimes it’s the thought of, ‘What is the beep? What is that message? Did someone post something new on Facebook that I should look at?’”

Marczinski suggests turning off all electronics, such as your phone, TV and computer, at the same time every night.

A study conducted by the National Sleep Foundation found that 95 percent of adults aged 18 and above use some type of electronic device, at least a few nights a week within one hour before going to bed.

Lipsitz said people have too many lights throughout their rooms.

“Light is a signal to wake you up,” Lipsitz said. “Your body is wired to wake up when it sees light, but if there are lights on at night, it may cause your body to wake up before it should.”

Marczinski said that if you manage your lights, you will be able to sleep better, and then be more focused and better able to manage your time.

Through these tips Marczinski and Lipsitz believe that any student can get a good night’s sleep.