Why sleep is important for academic success

Whether it’s due to part-time working hours on top of a busy class schedule, pulling all-nighters to cram for an exam, or partying until the early hours of the morning, sleep can often take a back seat during university years.

Sleep deprivation can impact various aspects of the mind and body, such as mood, energy, memory, efficiency, and importantly the ability to learn. That’s why it’s vital for those in the student accommodation sector to highlight and help educate students on the importance of a good night’s sleep. Here Natalie Pennicotte-Collier, Hypnos Contract Beds sleep and wellbeing specialist, gives her top sleep tips for students to perform at their best:
 
Sleep health
Sleep is the most important health behaviour we engage in. Did you know, in just one week of less than six hours of sleep you are four times more likely to get a common cold or cough and blood sugar would be deemed pre-diabetic? Ideally students should aim for at least nine hours of sleep per night in order to perform and flourish, both physically and mentally – especially to avoid freshers’ flu. In fact, even simply increasing sleep by just one hour a night is better for long-term wellbeing, mental and physical health, and will enable students to perform better in their studies. Not only does a good night’s sleep improve cognitive functioning, it restores energy, increases focus and attention span.
 
Rest and relax
The brain is better than a smartphone, so it’s important to recharge it regularly for optimal performance and to allow students academic talent to shine. Rest and recovery are just as important as sleep – if students haven’t had a good night’s sleep, finding time in their day, whether its 10 minutes during lunch or between classes, to ignore technology and just relax, will help the body feel rested even without actually sleeping.

 
Do the bed basics
Students should ensure they just use their bed for sleep and not study, in order to strengthen the association between bed and sleep. It’s all too tempting to sit in it to watch tv, read academic texts, or use a laptop to do coursework especially when living in halls of residence where personal space is limited. However, students don’t realise that not only does this decrease productivity but also makes it harder to switch off when it comes to going to sleep.
 
Get the room right
Making sure the bedroom is a sleep-friendly environment is crucial. Keep the room as dark as possible, turn all the lights off and try wearing an eye mask at night. Noise is also another common sleep thief at university due ongoing student nights out, so wearing ear plugs or playing white noise is a good way to get around this. It’s also important that the bed isn’t overlooked – a comfortable and supportive mattress and pillows are key in getting a quality night’s sleep.
 
Exercise for better sleep
It should come as no surprise that regular exercise helps people sleep more soundly as well as improving mental health. Students should aim to get at least 60 minutes of exercise a day, including aerobic activities such as fast walking and running. Regular exercise not only helps to build the immune system, it significantly increases energy levels and also produces endorphins that can help reduce stress levels and improve sleep quality.
 
Hypnos Contract Beds offers the Student DeluxeTM mattress, specially designed for the student accommodation sector to give students the quality night’s sleep they need to excel at university. For more information on Hypnos, please visit www.hypnoscontractbeds.com.