It is often seen as a right of passage in college...staying up late, cramming for the big test or that paper that is due, partying, or even just hanging out into the early hours of the morning. Often when you speak with students they almost seem proud of the minimal sleep they get over a week or semester.
In the Spring 2016 semester, Yale University looked at the sleep culture of its students. What it found was discouraging. The study discovered that 1 in 10 Yale students slept less than 5 hours per night and that the average sleep per week was 33.5 hours, much less than the 49 to 63 hours the National Sleep Foundation recommends.
It also found that, in addition to the heavy academic load, the sleep culture at Yale was a big factor in the lack of sleep. It found that within the student population there was a sense of glorification of sleep deprivation; a pressure to sleep less and be fatigued. It is often said that the student responds that s/he will "sleep when I am dead" when asked about sleep. In fact, a well-rested student may be told they are not doing college the right way.
Sleep deprivation affects judgement, reaction time, and concentration in the short-term but also affects long-term health with cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and increased psychological disorders.
So what is the solution? Work on changing the sleep culture on college campuses. This can include the education of students and faculty about the dangers of the lack of sleep and how proper sleep improves a student's academic performance.
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