Here’s some advice from U.S. News and World Report about college students and sleep. Their advice is pretty good, I think, and pretty straightforward. Students need to get into a consistent sleep schedule, they say. They need to avoid early morning classes if they’re not morning people, and if they do have morning classes, they need to sort of train their bodies into the habit of getting up earlier.
I don’t like to preach to students, but I also like to tell it like it is. Here’s my disgustingly blunt advice to college students about sleep:
Students: WAKE UP!
As a professor, I was thoroughly annoyed by students who didn’t come to my early morning classes because they were too early. I didn’t choose these early morning times, and in fact, the times were probably far more inconvenient for me because I had a small child at the time and wasn’t getting much sleep at night. But that’s when I was given the class to teach–and like a responsible adult, I was there to teach it.
So kids, if you find yourself in an early morning class, you have to go. Period. Put it this way: in the not-so-distant future, you’re going to have an early morning job. Do you plan on not coming in until noon and saying to your boss, “Sorry, dude. I’m not a morning person.” Your class is no different. Grown-ups sometimes have to get up early and do stuff, so get used to it.
I remember one time, I was teaching a class that started at about 1:30 pm. On the day that a paper was due, the power went out in the part of town where most of the sorority houses were. I must have gotten five frantic calls from students who missed the chance to turn in their papers because their alarm clocks didn’t go off! Yes, they overslept–for my 1:30 p.m. class. (And yes, I let them turn the papers in. I’m not a sadist.)
I do understand that student culture is geared towards the night hours. When I was in college, I used to go to bed around 1:00 a.m., and almost everyone in my dorm was still awake. That’s how it is, and I understand that most students are up late. And believe me, if I could, I’d sleep until noon every day. I love sleep. Who doesn’t? But students, if you’re going to do well in college, you’ve simply go to lose that “I’m not a morning person” excuse–unless you want your profs to think you’re a big baby.