Norman Regional Health System

Friday, August 25, 2023

It's no secret that students, especially college and high-school ones, tend to put their sleep on the backburner. However, people often overlook the fact that good sleep habits play an integral role in academic success and overall wellbeing.

The Power of Sleep

First, let's discuss the vital role sleep plays in a student's academic performance and general health.

Good sleep is important for learning because it improves memory, attention and creativity, which are all essential for cognitive functions. During sleep, especially in the deep stages, our brain consolidates and processes the information we have learned throughout the day. This helps us to retain information more effectively, which is crucial for successful academic performance.

Lack of sleep, on the other hand, can lead to problems such as reduced alertness, impaired judgement, mood swings and decreased ability to concentrate. Moreover, chronic sleep deprivation can also contribute to more severe health problems such as obesity, heart diseases and mental health disorders like depression and anxiety.

Creating Healthy Sleep Habits

Knowing why sleep is essential is only half the battle. The next step is to establish healthy sleep habits.

Set a Regular Sleep Schedule

Try to maintain a consistent sleep schedule, going to bed and waking up at the same time each day and getting in the recommended hours of sleep based on age. Getting into a routine helps to regulate your body's internal clock, the circadian rhythm, leading to better quality sleep. Try not to sleep in for more than an hour on weekends or holidays, even though it may be tempting.

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Create a Sleep-Friendly Environment

Your sleep environment plays a significant role in the quality of your sleep. Make sure your bedroom is cool, quiet and dark. Consider using earplugs or a white noise machine to block out disturbances and eye shades or blackout curtains to keep the room dark. Also, ensure that your mattress and pillows are comfortable.

Make your bedroom a space dedicated to sleep. Avoid doing work or studying in bed as this can make your brain associate your bed with alertness rather than relaxation and sleep.

Overcoming Sleep Challenges 

Even with the best of intentions, students often face sleep challenges. Here are a few strategies to address common issues:

Limit Screen Time Before Bed 

The blue light emitted by screens can interfere with the production of the sleep hormone melatonin. Try to switch off all electronic devices at least an hour before bed. If this is not possible, consider using a blue light filter on your devices or wearing blue light blocking glasses.

Manage Your Time Wisely 

Proper time management can help avoid late-night cramming sessions. Break down large projects into smaller tasks over several days or weeks. Make a daily to-do list and prioritize tasks.

Exercise Regularly 

Regular exercise can help you fall asleep faster and stay asleep. This is pretty intuitive; the harder you work during the day, the more likely you are to feel tired at the end of it. However, try not to exercise close to bedtime as it may interfere with your ability to fall asleep.

For tips and resources on incorporating fitness into the new school year, check out our Fitness Tips for Students Heading Back to School blog.

Seek Professional Help When Needed

If despite your best efforts, sleep problems persist, it might be a good idea to seek help from a healthcare professional. You could be dealing with a sleep disorder like insomnia or sleep apnea, which require medical attention.

Norman Regional’s primary care providers are more than capable of helping you overcome sleep issues. Our providers at Oklahoma Sleep Associates also specialize in diagnosing and treating more than just the symptoms of sleep disorders in adults, but the root cause as well. A sleep study can be a powerful tool in diagnosing sleep issues. However a referral is required, so seeking treatment from a primary care provider should be your first step.

Getting sufficient, high-quality sleep should not be a luxury—it should be a non-negotiable part of a student's routine. Don’t just think of sleep as a time of rest, but be an active participant in your journey towards academic excellence and overall wellbeing.

Norman Regional Walk-In Clinics

For those seeking immediate attention, Norman Regional offers two convenient and affordable Walk-In clinics offering same-day appointments. Open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday, providing patients with easy access to medical care.

The Norman Regional Nine Walk-In clinic is located at 2000 Ann Branden Blvd. Suite 201 in Norman. The Norman Regional Moore Walk-In clinic is located at 700 S. Telephone Rd. Suite 201 in Moore. No appointments are needed – just walk right in! Or schedule an immediate appointment online.