The Comprehensive Sleep Disorders Center at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital has released a list of healthy sleeping tips. Top suggestions include getting 8.5-9.5 hours of sleep a night, maintaining a healthy diet and establishing a calm bedtime routine -- away from television, exercise, telephone and computer use. The report said extra pounds put a person at risk for sleep apnea, a serious debilitating and potentially life-threatening sleep disorder.
John Paul LaForte, an Ernest Mario School of Pharmacy student, laughed after hearing the CSDC's sleep recommendation of 8.5-9.5 hours. He said he believes his sleeping schedule of five to seven hours a night is normal and healthy for a college student.
"After night classes, I have to eat dinner plus get my work done. By the time I'm all done, it's around midnight," LaForte said. "I'll normally stay up for another hour or so to unwind and relax. Everyone sleeps oddly at college, but we all get by." Despite LaForte's assertion, CSDC's clinical director, Dr. Rochelle Zozula, said she believes it is especially important for college students to maintain a regular sleep schedule. She said students are susceptible to developing delayed sleep phase syndrome, which results from a disturbance between a patient's internal biological clock and the external environment.
"Young adults can develop delayed sleep phase syndrome and change their underlying biological rhythms. This makes it difficult to go to sleep at a desired time and wake up at a certain time," Zozula said.
Christine Malita, a Livingston College first-year student, believes her night is only beginning when she is at college -- when most normal people begin to settle down to sleep.
"I usually go to sleep around two or three in the morning or later around 4 a.m. or 5 a.m. I get around five to seven hours of sleep a night," Malita said. "If I don't sleep enough, I take a very long nap in the afternoon, and then I'm up late again that night. It makes me really tired in class." The CSDC said if one suspects a sleep disorder, he or she should discuss the problem with a physician, as most sleep problems are treatable. If sleeping problems persist, a negative aftermath may occur, Zozula said.
Sleep deprivation was part of the reason Douglass College sophomore Elisa Petrigliano quit the Rutgers crew team. In order to be fully efficient during the day, she needed a full night of sleep.
"Living in a dorm with a roommate and other people makes it impossible to get to sleep at 10 p.m. and wake up at 5 a.m.," Petrigliano said. "After practice a lot of mornings, I'd crash before class and get a few more hours of sleep -- which is the worst way to get sleep because you become more tired." ((Distributed via M2 Communications Ltd - http://www.m2.com))
"Rutgers U.: Hospital announces sleeping tips; Rutgers students say schedules complicate sleep." America's Intelligence Wire 22 Apr. 2004. General OneFile. Web. 8 Mar. 2012.
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