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Improving Your Sleep Habits with Sleep Awareness Week

By Rebekah Skeens
On March 29, 2018

The less sleep students between the ages of 17 and 24 clocked, results showed that test scores were consistently lower.
Photo Courtesy of Pexel

The National Sleep Foundation commemorates the annual Sleep Awareness Week. This year, the celebrations took place on March 11 through 17. The theme for this year was “Begin with Sleep.” The campaign shares the importance of getting a good night’s rest and how to achieve personal goals concerning sleep awareness. 

 
Throughout the week, participants learned a variety of information about the benefits of getting plenty of sleep and how sleep can affect one’s overall balance of health. A deficit in one’s sleep can also affect individuals when it comes to safety and their emotional well-being.
 
According to the National Sleep Foundation, since 1991, a national poll marking the sleep habits of Americans has been ongoing. The poll, which is titled the “Sleep in America Poll,” shares information about specific sleep topics. Some of the topics include Women and Sleep, Health and Safety, Sleep, Performance and the Workplace, and Sleep and Pain.
 
In 2005, the National Sleep Foundation’s poll was centered around the topic of adult sleep habits and styles. The poll shows five “sleep personality types,” which are based on sleep habits and demographics such as gender, age, and how often one feels tired.
 
These results show that American adults are typically sleeping 6.8 hours a night on weekdays and 7.4 hours on weekends. 
 
The results for college students were even lower as classwork and studying tends to take away from crucial hours of sleep. The less of sleep students between the ages of 17 and 24 managed to get, results showed, test scores were consistently lower. Students who get between eight and 10 hours of sleep each night are expected to score higher and do better academically.
 
Lindsey Marcellin, MD, of Everyday Health states, “Sacrificing sleep can affect your grades and your long-term health.” She continues by stating that “shortchanging yourself on sleep, regardless of the reason, can lead to sleep deprivation – and some serious health consequences.”
 
Along with the countless number of consequences that come with getting less than the recommended amount of sleep, there are also an established number of tips and suggestions to help adults get their best night’s rest.
 
Franklin Buboltz, research analyst for Oregon State University, studies the best sleep habits to ensure the best possible rest. 
 
First of all, maintaining a regular sleep schedule will slowly get the body used to falling asleep and waking up at certain hours. During the weekends, there may be a temptation to stray from a set weekly schedule, but it is recommended that one have a consistent schedule. 
 
Buboltz states, “Large variations in sleep schedules can have the same effects as getting less than normal amounts of sleep.”
 
When living with roommates or a variety of people in residence halls or apartment buildings, sometimes it can be difficult to get peace and quiet. Buboltz suggests that having a sleep-friendly environment will help your body feel accustomed to the idea of sleep sooner. To do so, he suggests hanging dark curtains to block out excess light, or even trying an eye mask or ear plugs to create a soothing sleeping environment.
 
The University Health Center at the University of Maryland says that the most crucial factor to getting better sleep is to use your bed only for sleeping. While it is convenient to do homework or have a microwavable dinner in the comfort of your bed, it can cause your body to misinterpret what the bed should be used for. Lay in bed, they suggest, only when you are sleepy to help adjust your body.
 
James Knepler, MD, associate director of the University of Cincinnati Sleep Center, says that “Good sleep is important for several things.” He says that the better the sleep, the better your cognition, memory, and thinking skills. These are all important for our everyday lives and help to achieve goals and succeed.
 
The overarching concept of a sufficient amount of sleep can improve one’s health, academics, and overall well-being. To join the effort to share knowledge about sleep habits and health, or to learn more about Sleep Awareness Week, visit sleepfoundation.org to learn more.

 

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