UA professor studies lack of sleep in students

Dr. Adam Knowlden, an assistant professor in The University of Alabama’s department of health science, recently analyzed college students’ attitude toward the value of sleep and the reasons why they do not make sleep a ?top priority.

“The research has helped inform us of what students are struggling with in terms of getting quality sleep,” said Knowlden, who conceptualized and conducted the research of 118 students. “We found students often put off sleep to accomplish other goals they may have, such as academics or social ?activities. When they do this, they know there will be short-term ?consequences; but the long-term consequences of sleep deprivation do not impact their decision to obtain ?adequate sleep.”

It’s common knowledge no sleep at night makes for a long, tiring next day. Dr. Manoj Sharma, co-author of the study and professor at Jackson State University, said there are also long-term consequences to putting off sleep that most college ?students are not considering. Though students may not realize it, sleep habits today will have a profound impact on their ?future health.

“Sleep deprivation can lead to fatigue, memory loss, depression, cardiovascular disease, obesity and premature mortality, to name a few,” Sharma said. “Consistent ?adequate sleep helps in ? rejuvenation of all systems of the body particularly the immune, nervous, skeletal, and muscular systems.”

Fortunately, there are plenty of ways for students to ensurethat sleep is not ?overlooked.

“One of the main things students can do is to work on time management. For example, if a student uses a planner, they should block off eight hours of sleep on their calendar and treat sleep like an appointment,” ?Knowlden said.

Knowlden said turning off social media, cutting down on caffeine and avoiding long afternoon naps are other great ways to make sure you get enough sleep at night.

“There is always something going on in college,” Kelsey Pereyda, a freshman majoring in business, said. “I haven’t even thought ?about how little sleep I’ve ?gotten since school started.”

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