Sleep Studies by Haley Bills

Introduction/ Importance to College Students:

Lack of sleep is a huge issue with college students. Without sleep it is difficult to think clearly, perform daily tasks, or feel good in general. Too little sleep can make changes in how our mind processes thought which is part of Psychology. It is necessary for college students to get enough sleep in order to maintain their health and mental well being.

Background Information

Why is getting sleep important?

Sleep plays a vital role in maintaining one's health. It is essential for your mental and physical well being and without sleep you couldn't live. In adolescents sleep is essential for healthy growth and development. How you sleep can affect your everyday life in many ways. Because sleep is so vital for health if you have an untreated sleeping disorder it will likely affect your everyday relationships.

how_much_large (1).jpg

How much sleep does our body need?

How much sleep you need varies from person to person varies, however it seems to correspond directly with age. As a person ages they tend to need less sleep. A newborn baby needs anywhere from 12 to 18 hours of sleep whereas an adult needs anywhere from 7to 9 hours of sleep. That being said it isimportant for college students to get at least 7 hours of sleep so they can function regularly.

What are Circadian Rhythms?

A cycle of bodily rhythm that occur over a 24 hour period.


Different Stages of Non-REM Sleep

Non- REM Stage 1: Light Sleep- Period between awake and going into light sleep that lasts from one to seven minutes. Theta activity increases while alpha activity decreases and fades away. During this sleep period it is likely you will experience a hypnic jerk. A hypnic jerk is when you are beginning to doze off and your body jerks. You may also experience Hypnagogic images or Hallucinations during this stage of sleep.

Non- REM Stage 2: Sleep Spindles- This period of sleep usually lasts from ten to twenty minutes. During this time you drift into a deeper sleep and your body temperature continues to drop.Your breathing will become more shallow and your heart rate will increase. During this stage you will see your first signs of sleep spindles.

Non- REM Stage 3: Delta Waves- During this time you go from partially asleep to asleep. This stage lasts for roughly ten minutes. In this stage Delta waves make up nearly fifty percent of brain wave pattern.

Non- REM Stage 4: Delta Waves- During this stage you go into your deepest sleep. During this period your breathing, blood pressure and heart rate lower. Once the delta waves have accounted for more than fifty percent you enter stage four.

What is REM Sleep?
REM sleep is when your eyes move rapidly under your eyelids. During REM sleep you will experience an increase in body temperature and a more rapid heart rate. Dreams most commonly occur during REM sleep. Most people will experience REM paralysis during this stage, which is when your voluntary muscles are temporarily paralyzed. However some experience a disorder known as REM behavior disorder where they act out their dreams. This is a serious condition and very rare. It may cause you to do things you otherwise wouldn't awake. This happens because your brain mechanisms aren't able to paralyze your voluntary muscles. This condition is most common in adult males.
What is REM Rebound? REM Rebound occurs when you don't get much REM sleep one night, so the next night you will experience a higher amount of REM sleep to make up for it.
Sleeping Disorders
Sleep Walking (Somnambulism)
Sleepwalking takes place when you are in deep sleep and typically occurs more in kids and males. Sleepwalking is when you are still sleeping and you get out of your bed and move around. If you are able to walk around and go back to bed safely you won't remember it ever happening. However if you are awakened during sleepwalking people generally feel embarrassed. Sleep deprivation, stress, certain medications, and alcohol can all be causes of sleepwalking. Certain medical conditions and genetics can also cause sleep walking.
Night terrors
Night terrors typically occur in young children, but they are more rare and not to be confused with the more common nightmare. A night terror can cause you to cry, scream, and run around. It will appear as if you are awake and look disoriented, and confused. A person who is having night terrors will also be unresponsive to stimuli. Because of this you will not notice if your parents or anyone is there with you. If you are trying to decide if a child is having night terrors some symptoms include: sweating, increased heart rate and breathing rate. Fever, stress, sleep deprivation and certain medications can cause night terrors. Fortunately most people grow up and the night terrors disappear.
Insomnia is when a person is having troubles falling asleep, staying asleep or getting quality sleep. There are two different types of insomnia, primary and secondary. Primary Insomnia is when your troubles with sleeping are not associated with another health condition. Secondary Insomnia occurs when your troubles are linked to a health condition or problem. Insomnia can be caused by anxiety, depression, stress, drinking too much caffeine, and having discomfort somewhere in your body. If you have insomnia you will most likely be tired throughout your day, be irritable, and have problems concentrating.
Narcolepsy is a sleep disorder where you have a mass amount of daytime drowsiness and you fall into REM sleep without any warning. Unfortunately Narcolepsy is a chronic disorder and their is no cure for it, however you can take medication to help.

Sleep Apnea

There are two main types of sleep apnea, obstructive and central. Obstructive sleep apnea occurs when the throat muscles relax and central sleep apnea occurs when your brain doesn't send proper signals to the muscles that control your breathing. Sleep apnea is when you're sleeping and you stop breathing for at least thirty seconds. Sleep apnea is a very serious condition that can cause
long term heart problems. Fortunately most cases are treatable with either a device that helps breathing or surgery.
Benefits of Sleep
  • Improves memory
  • Longer life
  • Spike creativity
  • Better athletic performance
  • Better grades
  • Healthy lifestyle and weight
  • Lower stress
  • Better mental health

College Students and Sleep

Unfortunately many students use homework or studying as an excuse to not sleep. They don't realize that this could cause worse long term effects to both their health and school work. Not getting enough sleep can cause you to come to class drowse and not paying full attention in class. By not sleeping they are causing their mental and physical health to decline and at some point they will need sleep, but why wait until you are sick to do so. Balancing school, work and your health can be a difficult thing especially for college students but a good mix of studying and sleeping will give you the best outcome. It is shown that students who get better sleep at night have better grades in school. Whereas students who pull "all nighters" are shown to have a lower GPA. It is also shown that students who show symptoms or have sleeping disorders are more likely to get bad grades.

Helpful tips
  • Only use your bed for sleepCooper-Collection-Red-Twin-Garden-Bed.jpg
  • Stay away from caffeine
  • Limit nap
  • Avoid eating large meals before you sleep
  • Follow a sleep schedule
  • Don't use your cell phone in bed
Next time you are thinking about pulling an "all nighter," remember the consequences. You may believe that short term this will be beneficial, but in the long run it will leave you in a worse place. At some time or another we have all had troubles sleeping but that does not necessarily you have a sleep disorder. If you or a friend have or think you may have a sleeping disorder and have had symptoms for at least a week it would be wise to call your doctor and seek medical advice. They will likely do different tests and monitor your sleep problems to provide you with the best form of treatment.

"Bed - Google Search." Bed - Google Search. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.
"Circadian Rhythm." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 12 Feb. 2013. Web. 01 Dec. 2013.
"How Much Sleep Do We Really Need?" How Much Sleep Do You Need. National Sleep Foundation, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.
"Sleep, Stages of Sleep,stage 1 NREM, Stage 2 NREM, Stage 3 NREM,stage 4 NREM, Sleep Disorders, Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, RLS,Alternative Therapies, Mind-body Medicine, Integrative Therapies." Sleep, Stages of Sleep,stage 1 NREM, Stage 2 NREM, Stage 3 NREM,stage 4 NREM, Sleep Disorders, Insomnia, Sleep Apnea, Narcolepsy, RLS,Alternative Therapies, Mind-body Medicine, Integrative Therapies. N.p., n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.
"Sleepwalking, Somnambulism." GoodTherapy org Therapy Blog Sleepwalking Somnambulism Comments. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.
"11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep." Last Slide - 11 Surprising Health Benefits of Sleep - N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.
"AASM News Archive." AASM. N.p., n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
"The Healing Power of Sleep." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.
"Insomnia (Chronic and Acute Insomnia) Causes and Symptoms." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 30 Nov. 2013.
Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.
"Night Terrors in Children: Causes, Symptoms, Treatments." WebMD. WebMD, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.
Staff, Mayo Clinic. "Definition." Mayo Clinic. Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research, 24 Oct. 2012. Web. 02 Dec. 2013.
"Why Is Sleep Important?" - NHLBI, NIH. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, n.d. Web. 25 Nov. 2013.

"How Lack of Sleep Plagues Colleges Students | USA TODAY College." How Lack of Sleep Plagues Colleges Students | USA TODAY College. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2013.