Sleep becomes precious yet scarce for students

With the beginning of a new semester and a new class schedule, students will be getting syllabi, textbooks and stacks of notebooks. One thing students won’t be getting a lot of: sleep.

The average college student needs 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night, but whether it’s from studying until the early hours of the morning, from the noisy dorms, or because of a snoring roommate, college students face sleep deprivation all the time.

For Emily Blumenthal, junior in FAA and Illini Media employee, her lack of sleep was caused by a snoring roommate.

“My roommate when I was in the dorms was this tiny girl, but she would snore like a 60 year old man,” she said. “I don’t know how that sound came out of that tiny body.”

Although Blumenthal would wear earplugs to bed every night, the sound was so loud she would wake up out of a deep sleep.

“I would try to put the pillow over my head to go back to sleep,” she said.

Blumenthal thinks she understands the root of her roommate’s snoring issues: sleeping on her back.

“One time I actually tried to move her because she did sleep on her back,” she said. “Some nights I could sleep through the night, but it did interfere with my sleep schedule.”

While Blumenthal’s sleeping issues were caused by her roommate, plenty of people face health-related issues.

According to Bridget, a registered nurse at McKinley, there are many different types of sleep-related troubles.

Some of the most prevalent health problems are insomnia, where the person may feel like they can’t fall asleep, sleep apnea, which is an obstructed type of sleep spell and they don’t sleep well, and narcolepsy, where the person may fall asleep unexpectedly during the daytime.

Although these are issues many people face, the exact diagnosis changes from person to person.

“Part of it depends on what type of stuff is going on for them, and what is causing their sleep problems,” Bridget said.

To correct sleeping issues, there are a few different types of remedies, ranging from prescription medications to natural relaxers.

“People use melatonin for them to relax before bedtime,” she said. “Students also need to avoid exercising and caffeine right before bed.”

To help a person go to bed, Bridget recommends warm milk, as it releases different hormones and natural substances that can help people sleep.

“For college kids, regular scheduled sleep times and an adequate sleep amount are the most important things,” she said. “Adjusting after an all-nighter is different for each person. For some people it may take a week to adjust.”

College-age kids can adjust much easier. The best idea might be to take a couple of naps and go to bed at the regular scheduled time.

Christine Schufreider, junior in LAS, understands what it is like to worry about being able to fall asleep in a sorority house. Schufreider slept in a sleeping dorm, a room in the house designated strictly for sleeping.

“It was surprisingly easy,” she said. “Everyone’s in their own zone, there’s no socialization, and it was pretty easy falling asleep. It is always cold and quiet and dark.”

However, having that many people in one room can be difficult at times.

“Whenever people are sick, especially in the winter, that’s when the snoring is the worst,” she said. “Usually snorers will opt to have a bed in their room.”

But despite the small issues of sleeping in a large dorm room, Schufreider has grown to appreciate her bed in her sorority.

“Actually, whenever I go home I miss the dorms so much,” she said. “I can literally shut the outside out.”