Apr 222007
Authors: Valerie Hisam

A new study suggests that CSU students are due for a nap.

Nearly 47 percent of CSU students experience three or less nights a week of quality sleep, according to a study conducted by the National College of Health Assessment (NCHA). And about 7 percent of students don’t experience a single night of quality sleep.

Experts say insomnia and other sleep disorders are increasingly common among young people – mainly because of students’ saturated schedules and hurried lifestyles.

“The college population is the most susceptible population for sleep disturbances,” said Drew Trainor, a graduate student who contributed the NCHA research. “It’s because of our lack of routine that exacerbates our sleep problems.”

Many people want to attribute the lack of sleep to a disorder like insomnia, Trainor said, but it is in fact largely due to a “poor sleep hygiene.”

“Late nights of studying, partying and playing video games make it very difficult to get a quality night’s sleep,” Trainor said. “It is very important to just establish a routine in terms of your sleep practices.”

In most cases, insomnia is not the most likely cause for sleep disorders. In fact, insomnia accounts for only a small portion of sleep problems.

“Most sleep problems in young adults focus more on sleep schedules and excessive daytime sleepiness than on insomnia,” said Susan Dambrauskas, a technical writer for the Center for the Application of Research Discoveries and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. “This is presumably because these are bigger issues in this population.”

According to Wendy Lawton, the media director for Brown University professor Mary Carskadon – a leading adolescent sleep researcher – another explanation for greater sleep disturbances among young people is that of biological changes.

“Students stay up late and wake up late,” Lawton said. “This production is the cause and effect of biology.”

Although biology can play a role in such things as insomnia, Dambrauskas and Trainor both attribute the occurrence of sleep disorders among college students to pressures placed upon students by the society at large.

“These things are not usually talked about,” Dambrauskas said. “It’s all about keeping a good sleep schedule.”

Staff writer Valerie Hisam can be reached at news@collegian.com.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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