Omar Abdul-Rahim / Sun Staff Photographer

Half of students surveyed indicated that they receive less than the recommended amount of sleep.

September 26, 2016

Cornell Students Report Lack of Sleep, Citing Commitments

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Despite an abundance of evidence emphasizing the importance of sleep, Cornell students still report struggling to incorporate the recommended hours of sleep into their daily schedules, citing the stresses of schoolwork and extracurricular and social activities.

In a survey distributed by The Sun, Cornellians reported a varying average hours of sleep per night. Half of the 28 respondents — representing six of the seven undergraduate colleges — said they get, on average, the National Institute of Health recommended seven to nine hours of sleep that young adults need. The other half, however, reported that they sleep even less.

Waking up early and going to sleep this late takes a toll on students and how they perform academically, according to respondents. Almost 90 percent of participants in the survey said that they would probably perform better academically if they slept more each night. Seventy-two percent of respondents also said getting a sufficient amount of sleep on a daily basis is significantly important.

“I think sleep is such an important thing for adolescents,” said Isabelle Philippe ’19, who studies human biology, health and society in the College of Human Ecology. “In school, I think it is very hard to receive the minimum sleep requirements suggested for adolescents because of the pressure to do well academically while still being able to keep up socially.”

Fifty percent of students added that their current sleeping habits are only sometimes effective, and that they do not always work with maximum efficiency. However, students interviewed state that sleeping for seven to nine hours every night is not realistic.

“Because of long practices and hours of homework, I never reach the recommended eight hours of sleep,” said Kat Quigley ’19, a student in the College of Hotel Administration, who is also involved in varsity athletics. “I can barely keep my eyes open in my two favorite classes, which happen to be at 8:40 [in the morning] every day.”

The number of students who reported that they regularly take naps was essentially split in half. Many students use naps to take a break from their hectic schedules and catch up on the sleep they missed.

“I like naps because I don’t have to think about anything else while I’m taking one,” said Leena Morris ’19, an environment science and sustainability major in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.

When asked if they considered themselves sleep deprived, 39 percent of students responded with “yes,” 25 percent said “no” and 36 percent said “in between.”

Students supplied a variety of reasons for their sleep deprivation, ranging from participation in athletics to large workloads to not being able to sleep at night. One respondent said a lack of sleep was due to stresses imposed by professors, who do not take into account that their class is not the only one that students are enrolled in, and as a result assign students an abundant workload.