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“You need at least eight hours of sleep a day!”, “You need more sleep!”, “You already have bags under your eyes!” As college students, I bet you all have heard the obligatory and often infuriating sleep spiel countless times. Regardless of the number of phone calls from your parent insisting you get more sleep or the number of HES lectures that advocate the importance of sleep, these forms of advice have no impact on the amount of sleep or lack thereof, we get. The main reason why college students do not get the recommended amount of sleep is not because they do not want to sleep, but because sleep is not structurally prioritized on college campuses. With mass amounts of work, social obligations, stress and finals right around the corner, it seems as though sleep has been pushed aside and sacrificed in order to tend to these more “important” duties. In a Journal of the National Sleep Foundation article entitled, “Is sleep a luxury that college students cannot afford,” researchers discovered that 70-96 percent of students get less than eight hours of sleep per night during the week, mainly due to work and assignments. 


On campus, there is an astute effort to help students manage their sleep. For example, there are a variety of courses, including the HES 100 level courses, that encourage students to develop healthy sleeping habits. Additionally, there are various on-campus facilities aimed to help mitigate academic and social stress. In reality, a college campus and college life itself makes healthy and sustainable sleep patterns very difficult. Therefore, it is highly important for college students to prioritize sleep and take the necessary steps in order to ensure that they are able to do so by allocating sufficient time for their other obligations.

Although planning for sleep is much easier in theory than it is in practice, prioritizing events and responsibilities is truly integral in getting sufficient sleep. Since sleep is so often a last-thought, a luxury only to be obtained after completing a million other tasks, making a list can help keep you on track to ensure that you get everything done. Though you probably have heard about the ~magic~ of lists almost as many times as you’ve heard the sleep spiel; jot down a list of due dates, assignment’s level of significance (for example, ranging from a 5 point quiz to a term paper), and the estimated time required to complete the assignment. This multifaceted list will allow you to visualize everything that you have to complete and will provide you with due dates and the required amount of time so that you can prioritize assignments and plan accordingly to accommodate your sleep. 

Overall, although it is extremely difficult to look beyond your massive to-do list and seemingly endless pages of work, at the end of the day, your health should take top priority. Every now and then challenge yourself to choose sleep over your other priorities; you won’t regret it. 

All gifs courtesy of giphy.com. 

Grace Keilen

Wake Forest '21

Grace is from Boston, MA
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