College Students Say Stress Is Common


by Ellie Haugen

College is composed of five main activities: going to class, studying, socializing, participating in extracurricular activities and working. But what is the most important, yet often the most overlooked, activity that a student must engage in to stay healthy? The simple answer is sleep.

Everyone needs it, but most people don’t get an adequate amount, which ranges between seven to nine hours for adults. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, many students who work or study long hours may experience sleep deprivation. This causes daytime sleepiness and difficulty concentrating or making decisions. College students who don’t get enough sleep are at risk for problems like car crashes, poor grades and depression.

The CDC recommends avoiding caffeine, sticking to a sleep schedule if possible and exercising to fight sleep deprivation and stress.

“Although we often don’t want to exercise when we are stressing about things, this is often the most important time to do so in order to release endorphins,” Cindy Teasdale of student health services said.

Students face a rude awakening when beginning college by discovering that there aren’t enough hours in the day. Thankfully, some students of the incoming class have been able to quickly adjust to a new environment.

“I am used to early mornings and late nights because I was involved with music and theater before college,” freshman Jenna Smith said. “Recently, I’ve had to learn to say no to IHOP offers late at night. I’m learning how to balance activities to keep unnecessary weight off of my shoulders.”

While social temptations are a major factor in decreased hours of sleep in college, many students simply have a very large homework load that keeps them up for late hours of the night.

“I have 8 a.m. classes every day, and I don’t get to bed until around midnight every night, and that’s not due to anything but all the homework I have,” sophomore Kati Herr said. “If I can get up in time to go to breakfast before class, I do that.”

Students are encouraged to realize not only the mental health benefits of sleep but also the physical benefits.

“I’ve noticed a lot of people are getting sick around campus, and I’m worried that when I haven’t gotten enough sleep, I’ll catch something and it will be hard to get over,” Herr said. “Luckily, my roommate and my fiancé are both healthy.”

After being on campus for a few years, many students could be considered professionals at balancing school life with rest.

“I’m an eight hour kind of person,” junior Anna Schmidt said. “Getting sleep and being healthy is really important to me, especially because I’m a music major.”

Schmidt is familiar with balancing school, a demanding major and sleep with extracurricular activities as well.

“I’m also a community advisor and member of the pro-life club, which causes me to budget time even more,” Schmidt said.

Whether a newcomer to the life of college, or a four year expert of the ways of the wise, it is no doubt that every individual on this campus needs a sufficient amount of rest. To succeed in studies and engage in memorable social events students are learning how to maintain a healthy lifestyle.