Sleep deprivation is a condition describing when a person doesn’t get enough sleep. Although the amount of sleep that people need varies (between people), most people (adults) generally need as much as eight hours of sleep each night to feel well rested and alert throughout the day and evening. Teenagers need as much as nine hours of sleep each night, while children need nine hours (or more) per night, generally depending on their age. Even though the amount of sleep people need does vary by age, sleep deprivation does affect people of all ages, especially if they can’t get enough sleep.
The Statistics About Sleep Deprivation Among College Students
1. According to research by Brown University, at least 11 percent of students report good sleep. On the other hand, 73 percent of students (from the same study) were found to have sleep problems.
2. Sleep problems aren’t only limited to sleep deprivation for college students. At least 30 percent of college women and 18 percent of college men reported that they suffered from (some form of) insomnia over the past 3 months.
3. Sleep deprivation, as mentioned, impairs people’s ability to function normally throughout the day. This causes students, in particular, to pay less attention to classes. That’s why students with sleep deprivation were found to have lower GPAs, since it impairs their ability to concentrate, retain information and learn.
4. Another survey found that 68 percent of students slept as much as 7 hours per night on weekdays, while 20 percent slept 5 hours or less during weekdays. In that particular online survey (taken with 100 students), it showed that different subsets of students have different requirements for sleep. While some people need longer sleep hours, others fare well with the average time for sleep.
5. A larger study pool found a more accurate look into how college students handle sleep. Conducted by the American College Health Association in 2010, the survey gathered as much as 95,712 responses from 139 different schools. It found that most students generally feel ‘well rested half of the time,’ and that they feel ‘sleepy or dragged out’ most of the time.
6. On an interesting note, another online survey found that many students ‘crash’ on the weekends, sleeping more than 8 hours. 72 percent of students were found to sleep 8 to 9 hours on weekends, while 28 percent sleep more than 10 hours on weekends.
7. It seems that student schedules and time management influence how college students sleep on a regular basis. Many resources recommend to college students to exercise better planning, time management and to always get enough sleep when they need sleep.
About Sleep Deprivation
At least one in five adults fail to get enough sleep. In a room full of adults, to provide an example, every fifth person would have trouble staying awake during the day. That’s how common sleep deprivation is.
According to medical resources, sleep deprivation is a condition occurring when people don’t get enough sleep. This condition is also directly related to sleep deficiency, which occurs if people don’t:
1. Get enough sleep (suffer from sleep deprivation).
2. Sleep at the wrong time of day (out of sync with their body’s internal clock).
3. Sleep well at all and/or get enough of the different types of sleep the body needs.
Some people suffer from sleep deficiency if they suffer from sleep disorders or other conditions that impairs their ability to get enough sleep. Without getting enough sleep, it’s difficult for people to focus on performing basic tasks on a day to day basis. Sleep deprivation impairs physical, mental and cognitive functions, making it difficult to do anything properly when awake.
A Closer Look at Sleep
Sleep is a basic need for humans. Sleep is divided into different types, but the most common types are rapid eye movement (REM) and non-rapid eye movement (non-REM) sleep. Both types define what’s known as a sleep cycle, which has five distinct stages.
Non-REM sleep is best known as deep sleep or slow wave sleep. It’s characterized by the body’s decreased metabolic activity, slowed heart rate and breathing and a lack of dreaming. The first four sleep stages of sleep consist of non-REM sleep. These stages (including the last stage of REM sleep) repeat at least five times throughout a normal period of sleep.
REM sleep is the period of sleep where dreaming occurs. It’s characterized by rapid (and periodic) twitching movements of the eye muscles, in addition to other physiological changes like an accelerated heart rate and respiration, increase brain activity and muscle relaxation. REM sleep is also said to allow memory organization and learning retention to take place. Throughout each sleep cycle, the period of REM sleep becomes longer.
People spend most of their sleep period (nearly 50 percent) in non-REM sleep, 20 percent in REM sleep and at least 30 percent in other stages of sleep. Even though many people experience that type of sleep on a nightly basis, it still doesn’t prevent people, especially college students, from suffering sleep deprivation.
College Students and Sleep Deprivation
Both male and female college students are at great risk of sleep deprivation on a regular basis. The effects of sleep deprivation cause people to fall asleep when they’re forced to sit still in some environment for a semi-long period of time, such as a class.
Due to the nature of attending classes and completing fairly intensive assignments, many college students forgo sleep.