REPORTERS Chloe McKendrick and George Docking conducted an investigation at Harlow College following a study revealing shocking statistics on sleep patterns in students.
A study by student and graduate app, Debut, interviewed 1331 UK-based 18-25 year old university students and revealed the worst elements of their sleeping behaviour.
It was discovered that more than eight out of 10 students have university-related dreams or nightmares that interrupt their sleep which can inhibit them from having a good quality sleep.
Charlotte Langham, 18, currently studying Journalism at Harlow College, stated, ‘After a bad night’s sleep I feel very anxious and stressed. I sometimes get night terrors about my future and what my education brings. I use medication and music to help me fall asleep which seems to be very helpful.’
The top five sleep-disrupting dreams or nightmares recalled by students are exams, failing exams, people and relationships, health and even debt.
When asked about sleep and exam season, seven in every 10 students stated that their sleep is negatively affected in the lead up and during exam season, the period where experts state, sleep is most needed to recharge the brain and body.
Emma Paytien, 19, an aspiring mental health nurse at Harlow University Centre, stated, ‘When I get a good night’s sleep, I can be very uplifting but if not, I’m very irritable. Uni work regularly keeps me up at night especially deadlines.’
The study also reported that students were using the wrong methods of attempting to sleep with 57% using their mobile phones. Although the brightness is altered, experts state that the stimulation from the technology will actively fight the brain from the ‘wind down’ process.
Damiola Lawal, 22, studying Psychology and Counselling at the Harlow University Centre, commented, ‘Five hours a night is a good night sleep for me as I suffer with insomnia. When I can’t sleep, I read!’
Stephanie Romiszewski, a leading Sleep Physiologist and Director of the Sleepyhead Clinic commented on the findings, ‘It’s vital to remember that it is not just about sleep duration. In fact, sleep quality is far more important! For those 74% of students who forfeit sleep for studies, my advice is not to say up to ‘cram’ before exams, and instead go to bed and get some good quality sleep.’
Stephanie continued, ‘Peer pressure is also a big factor that affects students. My advice to students is to find their own relaxation technique.’
Ryan Tidd, 23, a student at Harlow College, commented, ‘I am a lot friendlier when I have had a good night’s sleep, and when I don’t, my family tend to not want to be around me. When I can’t sleep, I usually listen to podcasts, the radio, YouTube videos or eat.’
Sleepyhead Clinic’s guide to good quality sleep includes stop dictating your sleep time, start dictating your wake time, stop stealing your sleep fuel and finally, start relaxing!