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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

Author’s Note: I’d like to offer a big thank you to Her Campus National and the Sleep Revolution team for sending me the book and supplies to write this article.


I opened my computer and read the one email in my inbox: it was an email from Thrive Market (I signed up for their emails because they offered a free jar of avocado mayonnaise) about Arianna Huffington’s The Sleep Revolution and the importance of napping. This is ironic for two reasons:first, because I just sat down to write an article about The Sleep Revolution and second, because I did so with my third cup of coffee in hand, yawning and thinking of nothing but my massive to-do list and of course, a nap.

But it’s fine. “I’m a college kid. Burnout is inevitable. Sleep is for the weak. I can sleep in a week.” Have you uttered any of these phrases to yourself? If not, I genuinely don’t believe you. If so, you are not alone; according to Huffington, this is a worldwide epidemic. And we, as college students, are among the worst offenders.

Earlier this year, I wrote an article with advice about pulling all-nighters. I am now writing to tell you that I take it all back. The late-night studying tips may be helpful, but going without sleep never is. Everything we’ve heard about taking pills to help us sleep, drinking coffee to keep ourselves awake, and staying up into the wee hours of the night because “we really don’t need much sleep,” is a complete and utter lie, and a harmful one at that. Huffington said her personal wake-up call (or rather, her sleep-call) when she collapsed from exhaustion and woke up in a pool of her own blood. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon. Here is your very own injury-free wake-up call.

As easy as it may seem, going without sleep can have fatal consequences. Every year there are terrible stories on the news about over exhausted new mothers dropping infants and overworked doctors and nurses making mistakes or poor calls. In 2009, there was a plane crash in my hometown of Buffalo, New York in which the plane crashed into a private home and killing fifty people because the pilot was fatigued. Since then a new rule has been established that requires pilots to have ten hours of rest, eight of which must be uninterrupted sleep. It is heartbreaking to see tragedy that may have been prevented if people got their eight hours.

We cannot put the blame of these tragedies on pilots or nurses or mothers, however. We live in a world that makes sleeping difficult, and employees are often overworked. Some must compensate work time taking away from family time by getting less sleep, a dangerous habit that children often learn from parents. Workplaces encourage their employees to prioritize work, sometimes so much so that they fail to consider the health of their staff.

Unfortunately, schools and colleges are not much different. Research has proved that schools should not start earlier than 8:30, but a very small number of schools have actually taken this into consideration. Colleges are even worse: college students at top universities often fall into a mindset that “the more you work, the less you sleep.” I was recently having a conversation with a professor (during my 8 AM, of course) in which she told us a story about a man who didn’t sleep for three days and had a heart attack a week later. Another student responded that this was frightening, because she knew “several people who had gone three days without sleep during college.”

To make matters worse, college students often ingest high amounts of caffeine and alcohol, which making falling asleep challenging and staying asleep even worse. Young people and seasoned adults alike are guilty of consuming alcohol or caffeine too close to bedtime, as well as taking sleep aids such as Ambien or Lunesta, which seem helpful but can have worrying side effects (including sleep-walking, driving, and online shopping). Colleges are now trying to combat the epidemic of sleeplessness by changing library hours to discourage students from staying up all night working, or by creating nap rooms in the library. The University of Michigan even installed high-tech nap pods for students to get proper rest when they’re too tired to keep working.

As daunting as this may be, not all hope is lost. There are plenty of things we can do to better our sleeping habits: the first and possibly most important in my opinion, is to nap if you need to. If you simply cannot get between 7 and 9 hours, then take a nap the next day. On a regular night, it is best to avoid eating and drinking caffeine or alcohol two hours before bedtime. When you are ready go to sleep at night, leave technology at the door, put on pajamas (not running shorts, as this causes your body to confuse sleep and exercise), wear an eye mask and make your room as dark as possible, and keep your room temperature between 60 and 66 ℉. Cutting out a third of our day for sleeping may seem overwhelming, especially for us college students. Luckily, Arianna Huffington has proven that it’s the most important eight hours of the day, and we should treasure it.

Sleep well, my friends. All this wonderful data and other information come from The Sleep Revolution, so I highly recommend reading it to learn other ways to better your sleep.


Image Credit: Penguin Random House, Hannah Anain, Eat to Perform


Hannah Joan

Kenyon '18

Hannah is one of the Campus Coordinators for Her Campus Kenyon. She is a Buffalo native and plant enthusiast studying English and Women's and Gender Studies as a junior at Kenyon College.    
Class of 2017 at Kenyon College. English major, Music and Math double minor. Hobbies: Reading, Writing, Accidentally singing in public, Eating avocados, Adventure, and Star Wars.