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Sleeplessness in students

Insomnia a challenge to manage, says Gazette student columnist

Student Life

By Hayley Whelan

Getting the recommended amount of sleep is crucial to a student’s mental and physical well-being.

Many of us suffer from sleep disorders or temporary sleep disturbances that prevent us from being well-rested and prepared to take on each day.

Those of us who experience insomnia and other sleep disorders have no control over when we are affected by them.

Stress can trigger sleep disorders and cause students who typically sleep well to have difficulty falling or staying asleep.

Living through a pandemic means that more students than ever are experiencing stressful situations that may affect their sleep.

Unpredictable and inconvenient

Anxiety is a major factor in the quality of sleep that I get.

Anxiety concerning a major impending event such as an exam or a presentation can prevent me from sleeping.

I will lie awake all night agonizing over the prospect of having to complete an undesirable task the next day.

 “I find it much easier and less stressful to sleep during the day.”

This lack of sleep, of course, only serves to make the task more difficult.

I am not the only student who feels this way. Many of my peers also experience sleeplessness as a result of anxiety.

Undiagnosed sleep disorders can rear their heads at unpredictable and inconvenient times.

Sometimes, sleeplessness or low quality of sleep can occur persistently or randomly.

Compromised performance

During the semester, I feel like an insomniac.

Spending eight hours a night lying in bed with heavy eyes and wondering if I will ever fall asleep is not a novel experience for me.

A full night’s rest, however, is. To compensate, I have to try to fit it in elsewhere. In my case, I find it much easier and less stressful to sleep during the day.

“Like most mental and physical conditions, students with sleep disorders have to adapt.”

The effects of insomnia and sleeplessness on a student’s performance can vary. It is impossible to know which students may be suffering from sleep disorders on which nights.

Lack of sleep puts a student at a disadvantage. If you have ever tried to complete an exam with little to no rest the night before, you will know what I mean.

Your ability to process information and form coherent thoughts is compromised.

Stick to a regular routine

It is difficult to identify a solution to students’ sleeplessness or formulate a plan to accommodate students who suffer from sleep disorders.

Like most mental and physical conditions, students with sleep disorders have to adapt.

They must adjust their schedules to accommodate their affliction and learn to cope despite the disadvantage of not being able to sleep.

One tip from someone who knows: Go to bed at the same hour every night to increase your chances of developing a regular sleep schedule.

If you are struggling to complete classwork or perform well in university as a result of your sleeplessness, consider contacting the Student Wellness and Counselling Centre and meeting with a physician to discuss your options.

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