Your Student life: Sleep Cycle of a College Student

October 24, 2021

(7 a.m.) You barely roll out of bed for your 8 a.m. class, (10 a.m.) go to other classes, (1 p.m.) go to work, (5 p.m.) go to a club meeting, ( 7p.m.) dinner with friends, (9 p.m.) start to study for the test you have tomorrow, and (1 a.m.) you go to sleep.  

Does this sound familiar? If it does, you are not getting enough sleep at night. Don’t worry, you are not alone! On average, college students get a whopping six hours of sleep a night according to a study by the University of Georgia. Lack of sleep can take a toll on your mental health, cause a reduction of cognitive performance and affect your memory capacity! Here are five quick tips to getting a better night’s sleep in college.  

Tip 1: Prioritize Sleep     

Think of sleep as a tool. It’s a tool to help you get better grades, better your mental health, and better your alertness. It’s also good to note that nothing can replace the benefits of a good night’s sleep. So, trying to fill yourself up with espresso shots or energy drinks won’t give you the same feeling as catching some ZZZs.  

Tip 2: Avoid Late Day Naps 

Naps during the day can hinder your sleep at night. Dr. Sara Nowakowski, a sleep expert, suggests if you’re feeling especially tired, take a nap—but try to follow these guidelines. If you are feeling tired, try to remain awake and active for at least three hours after your new wake-up time before taking a nap. Also, try not to nap less than six hours before your bedtime. And if you need a nap, try to keep it under 30 minutes. This is just enough time to recharge!  

Tip 3: Take Advantage of the Exercise 

Research continuously shows that exercise results in a better night’s sleep. Exercise is a natural way to help boost your rest because it makes it easier to fall asleep at night. You don’t want to exercise too close to your bedtime as you’ll have an extra jolt of energy. So, aim for placing your exercise routine in the morning! There are some great recreational facilities located around campus and you can find more information about locations and operating hours at  

Tip 4: Get on the Same Sleep Schedule Every Night 

Your body is really good at learning schedules! It learns when to be tired and when to wake up based on the habits you form. So, if you’re changing your schedule up every night, it can be pretty confusing to your body’s natural rhythm. Don’t be too ambitious. If you can’t wake up at 6am, you don’t have to! Do what feels right for your body. Set yourself a wake-up time and bedtime that is challenging, but be realistic. 

Tip 5: Unplug Before Beds 

Your body needs wind-down time! Especially from blue lights like those from your phone screen. As relaxing as it can be to scroll through TikTok right before bed (I know we all do it), it’s not helping your body get into “sleep mode.” Do something that relaxes you that doesn’t involve electronics. This can include reading a book, listening to soothing music, or drawing and coloring. It’s all about doing what’s right for you. If you’re looking for some relaxation tips you can also check out the OSU Wellness App!  




Taylor Sienerth
Stress Wellness Ambassador 
Student Wellness Center
Office of Student Life