It has been said that the goal of college should be to try to balance good grades, an active social life and sleep, but it is impossible to attain all three of these things.
College students seem to give sleep the lowest priority, but what do the numbers say? The National Sleep Foundation (NSF) conducts and publishes a poll annually called “Sleep in America.” Each year they focus on the sleep patterns of Americans of a different demographic group.
Unfortunately, the foundation has not done any recent studies on the sleep patterns of collegians. So, “The Banner” conducted a poll of the sleeping habits of California Baptist University students. The poll surveyed 150 CBU students about average sleep times, caffeine use and a few other sleep questions along with their basic personal details.
However, the NSF studies does have relevant results. Their 2002 poll provides a contrast of the average sleep time for young adults (19-29), adults (30-64) and seniors (65+). On weekdays, young adults slept an average of 6.9 hours, adults were at 6.7 and seniors slept 7.3 hours. They also found that on average, women sleep 1/3 of an hour longer than men.
The foundation focused their 2006 poll on the sleep habits of junior high and high school students. They found that sleep time consistently goes down with each higher grade. Sixth-grade students slept an average of 8.4 hours a night and twelfth-graders slept only 6.9 hours.
According to “The Banner” poll, CBU students sleep an average of 6.4 hours a night but feel that they should be sleeping 8 hours. They consume caffeine 2.6 days a week to stay awake and alert, although 41 percent of students completely abstain or use it very rarely.
Three activities are the most popular reasons students stay up at night. At 49 percent, Studying and homework is what most students claim cut into their sleep. Hanging out with friends is given by 19 percent of students and 10 percent cite Facebook.
Although students in different class levels get near the same amount of average sleep, seniors use caffeinated beverages to stay awake less often than any of the other classes, at two times per week on average; the three other classes use it an extra day per week. Lower classmen feel that they need an average of 1/3 of an hour more sleep than upperclassmen.
Looking at the statistics by gender also provides interesting results. Instead of sleeping, the 10 percent of all students that frequent Facebook breaks down into 15 percent of all females and 5 percent of all males.
However, a higher percentage of females also cited studying and homework as keeping them awake than males. Females consistently across all of the classes slept less, said they needed more sleep and consumed caffeine more regularly.
According to the American College Health Association’s 2007 survey, only 28.9 percent of college students report feeling well-rested at least 5 days a week. Studies have shown that proper sleep helps learning, mood, and even weight loss while dieting.
In the pursuit of the college dream of sleep, grades and socialization, think twice before giving sleep last choice.