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Correlation Between Sleep Quality and Mental Health in College Students

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Gindlesperger 1Ethan GindlespergerKaitlyn SamonsEnglish 1030 - 04311, December 2019Correlation Between Sleep Quality and Mental Health in College Students Sleep is something that I have always taken for granted in life. Until college, I never had trouble sleeping, but now that I am here, I noticed that both my sleep and mental health are in a worse state than they have ever been. I have always been fortunate enough not to struggle with mental health, but now thatI get less sleep, I can't help but think there must be a relationship between the quality of sleep I get and my mental health. An active confounding variable in this could be the grades in my classes. Grades in college affect my mental health significantly because of the risk brought by doing poorly in class. Because of this correlation, I think that sticking to a good sleep and study plan will result in mental healththat is stable consistently. In students attending college, there is a correlation between the quality of sleep received, academic achievement, and mental health. Grades are just about the most important thing to a college student other than good times and what is on the plate for dinner. So, it would make sense that the mental health of students would revolve around their grades. Also, if students were suddenly less able to work on their grades, they would be put into a worse state of mental health. In the University of Nevada at Las Vegas, 147 observed students wereplaced into three categories based on the number of hours of sleep they received daily and asked to report their grade point averages (GPAs), and their waking functionality. The three categories were: short sleepers, who averaged six or fewer hours of sleep, average sleepers, who averaged seven to eight hours of sleep, and long sleepers, who averaged nine or more hours of sleep. The data supports the idea thatGindlesperger 2"long sleepers would report higher GPAs than short sleepers" (Kelly). Students that slept for longer nightly also reported waking up with a higher functionality than short sleepers. This functionality can be used to focus on school, meaning short sleepers could have a harder time paying attention during the day. Thus, giving them a different, lesser opportunity to work on school, allowing their grades to fall behind relatively, increasing the stress in their lives. College students' sleep schedules are centered around their classes, study, and daily cycles (food, exercise, etc.). Most students experience an undefined schedule sleep during the school week varying daily from what must be completed and transitioning to a sleep heavy schedule on the weekends. Having an inconsistent sleep schedule as such is occurrence is known as delayed sleep phase syndrome (Gilbert). "Twice as many students as people in the general population report symptoms consistent with delayed sleep phase syndrome" (Brown). Sleep problems are often thought to be a consequence of depression, butthis may not be the case. When talking about irregular sleep, college psychologists say, "Sleep problems have been found to be a precursor to the development of bona fide depression" (Gilbert). A college student's number of hours spent sleeping is typically something that is hard to keep steady. Under a heavy workload, some students don't have a chance to make it to bed until an unreasonable hour if they need to get all their work done. "When students arrive at college, their sleep habits are often one of their first daily routines to change and not usually for the better" (Pilcher). However, if a student knew that poor sleep puts them at risk for bona fide depression, the student would likely try to work a better sleep schedule into their life. If college students were to abide by better work schedules, their risk of worsening mental health would decrease significantly. The leading influence of college students’ poor sleep schedule is their individual work schedules. Students that manage their time well will be more likely to get their necessary work for the day complete. This gives students less of a reason for that student to stay up late, increasing the potential number of hours that they get that night. If this becomes a repeated occurrence, a work schedule will be formed, and more importantly, a sleep schedule with be formed. A sleep schedule wouldGindlesperger 3help students get a consistent number of hours of sleep, which statistically increases their odds of having better grades, and decreases their odds of developing delayed sleep phase syndrome. Additionally, with more sleep, the student would have the energy to focus for longer during the school day and be more functional during the time that they have allocated to studying outside of class. There are no all-around negatives to forming a work-sleep schedule as a college student. The odds of having a higher GPA and being in a better mental health state increase astronomically, giving less reason for stress in a student's life, and you get more sleep. Sleep deprivation can have various negative effects on mental health directly and indirectly. Every student is at college to receive an education, and lack of sleep can not only suppress a student’s ability to learn but also directly increase a student’s odds of developing bona fide depression. The suppression of a student’s ability to learn would lead to lower grades and higher stress in the life of a student, worsening their mental health. But if a student induces a work-sleep schedule into their life, they would have higher functionality and get their academic goals for the day complete correlating to better mental health directly. Sleep’s impact on student success and mental health is too important for students not to be aware of and take care of.Gindlesperger 4 ReferencesBrown, F., Buboltz, W. and Soper, B. 2001. Prevalence of delayed sleep phase syndrome in university students. College Student Journal, 35: 472–476. https://scholar.google.com/scholar_lookup?hl=en&publication_year=2001&pages=472-476&author=F.+Brown&author=W.+Buboltz&author=B.+Soper&title=Prevalence+of+delayed+sleep+phase+syndrome+in+university+studentsGilbert, Steven P., and Cameron C. Weaver. “Sleep Quality and Academic Performance in University Students: A Wake-Up Call for College Psychologists.” Journal of College Student Psychotherapy, vol. 24, no. 4, 2010, pp. 295–306., doi:10.1080/87568225.2010.509245.Kelly, William E, et al. “THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN


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