How does sleep affect well-being?
Sleep is essential to all dimensions of well-being. It is the time when your body heals and recovers from each day and prepares the body and mind for the days ahead. During each 6-10 hour period of sleep that we experience, the body takes time to consolidate and store memories, restore our muscles and ability to concentrate and regulate our metabolism. When we don’t sleep, our body is not given time to recover from the work it completed during the day, leading to a greater loss of memory and fatigue.
Among UofSC students, sleep was ranked number three among the top health issues for affecting academic performance. Approximately 45 percent of students report daytime sleepiness three to five days a week and 17.5 percent of students report that sleep difficulties affect their academic success.
What are some things I can do to improve my sleep?
- Use your bed for sleep only – This creates a cue your bedroom is for rest.
- Limit screen time – Cease TV and cellphone use one hour before bed. Light created from these devices keeps you awake.
- No naps – This can disrupt your sleep patterns and keep you awake at night.
- Maintain a regular sleep schedule – Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends to maintain consistent sleeping patterns.
- Limit body’s intake of stimulants (caffeine) and depressants (alcohol) – These substances can keep you awake or disrupt your deep sleep.
- Get comfortable – Keep your room dark, cool and quiet.
- Develop a bedtime routine to complete each night – Relating activities to sleep prepares the body to rest.
- Allow the body time to wind down before going to bed – Read a book or other light activity that allows you to relax.
- Get out of bed after 30 minutes of not being able to sleep – Do something relaxing and return to bed only when you are tired.
- Exercise regularly – The body requires rest to recover from exercise. However, strenuous exercise late at night can keep you up.
What campus resources are available?
- A couple of UofSC students have written articles about their relationship with sleep:
- “The Key to Better Sleep Habits” www.huffingtonpost.com/hannah-doelling/sleep-issues-college-campus_b_10063934.html
- “It’s Time to Rebrand Sleep” www.huffingtonpost.com/elizabeth-rizor/its-time-to-rebrand-sleep_b_10036202.html
- Counseling and Psychiatry provides therapy services to students having sleep problems. www.sa.sc.edu/shs/cp
- Speak to UofSC’s Primary Care if you stop breathing while sleeping, rely on sleep aids to fall asleep, stimulants to keep you awake or if medication is affecting your sleep: www.sa.sc.edu/shs/care
Are there any other resources that can help with sleep problems?