Many college students have sleep patterns that could have detrimental effects on their daily performance, including academics and driving, says a new study.
LeAnne Forquer, now a psychology faculty member at Delta State University in Cleveland, Miss., along with Central Michigan University psychology professor Carl Johnson, Forquer surveyed more than 300 college students, freshmen through graduate students, many of whom admitted that it took longer than 30 minutes for them to fall asleep and/or they woke more than once a night for at least five nights a week.
The study, which was published in the Journal of American College Health, concluded that one third of the sample took more than 30 minutes to fall asleep and 43 percent woke more than once a night.
The students in the sample also had later bedtimes and wake times on weekends compared to weekdays, disrupting the circadian rhythm, a person's 24-hour day-night cycle that influences quantity and quality of sleep.
Stability of the circadian rhythm ensures better sleep, therefore, bed and wake times should be the same every day of the week, including weekends.
"What I found most interesting about the study was the large numbers of students who were having the same problems as me, such as taking a long time to fall asleep and waking numerous times throughout the night. I had felt for so many years that I was the only one," Forquer said.