The science of sleep

Jean Macbride, Staff Writer

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Among college students, 70.6% reported that they get an inadequate amount of sleep, according to a study done by the National Institute of Health in June, 2014.

At finals time, UVM students at Howe Library have a lot of different ideas about sleep and schoolwork.

Sophomore David Lindholm said that his sleep schedule remains consistent during finals.

“My sleep schedule doesn’t change that much,” Lindholm said. “I still go to bed around 1 a.m. and wake up around 9:30 a.m. I think that’s enough sleep for my schedule and the activities I do.”

He said he puts schoolwork ahead of sleep during finals.

“I always try to do my schoolwork before sleep because I can lose a couple hours of sleep and be fine the next day,” he said.

Sophomore Lydia Koutras said her sleep schedule varies during finals week.

“I’m a sophomore, so I’ve only done finals two times,” Koutras said. “Typically it’s five hours a night, a couple nights six. I typically do my studying during the day.”

She said she tries to balance grades and sleep.

“No, I don’t put my grades under sleep, but I try to do my work as much as I can in a day,” she said.

Koutras said that her sleep schedule during finals week is not what it usually is at other times of the year.

“Finals week is an exception, so I will be studying harder,” she said. “It’s a consecutive exam week so most of the days have an exam vs other weeks that might only have one.”

 

Sleep deprivation can have a stronger negative effect on academic success than the use of drugs or alcohol, according to an October 2018 Journal of the National Sleep Foundation article.

“On average, each additional day per week that a student experienced sleep problems raised the probability of dropping a course by 10% and lowered the cumulative GPA by 0.02,” the article stated.

According to a December 2018 article published to Baylor University’s website, students received extra credit for hitting eight hours of sleep.

Other than the academic losses, students’ mental health could be at risk as well.

Koutras said that finals week could provoke anxiety.

“I’m definitely very anxious, but I try to minimize the anxiety I have by trying to get some sleep,” she said.

Senior Zachary Vandenberg said his sleep during finals week is consistent with the rest of the school year.

“My sleep is pretty normal, about 8 1/2 to nine hours a day,” he said.

Vandenberg said he stays away from technology such as cell phones and computers before going to sleep.

“I try to lay off technology about 20 minutes before bed,” he said.

Vandenberg also said he prioritized sleep over grades.

“Sometimes people say it’s easier to cram, but I find it’s easier to retain information when I got a good night’s sleep,” he said.

Students are gearing up for finals season. While some students choose to sacrifice sleep for the grade, others decided that hours of shut eye are not worth skipping.