It’s a common problem on college campuses across the nation. Desk lamps are on until five o’clock in the morning and students drag themselves to their early-morning classes just three hours later. It’s a lack of sleep. From athletics to theatre productions to hitting the books in the hard sciences, how much do curricular, and extra-curricular, activities cut into a college student’s most precious free-time activity of all? Is it a time-management problem? Or do athletes and science majors really have less free time?
To answer these questions, a survey was taken across campus in which students of all grades were asked how much sleep they get per night on average. It turns out that athletes may have a reason to whine.
On average, those participating in a sport get one hour and nine minutes less sleep than non-athletes. “Practice takes up a lot of time, but game days especially cause me to be up late with homework,” said Gretchen Sutherland, a member of the women’s soccer team.
Science-related classes are notorious for intense tests, long labs and complicated terms to memorize. In some dorms, late night study sessions take place several times a week. However, this survey indicates that those students not in science-related majors get less than 20 minutes of extra sleep compared to those in science-related majors.
Some students argue that even though this difference is relatively nonexistent it doesn’t mean science majors have as much free time as everyone else. Instead, it simply shows that those students who have a lighter workload tend not to devote their extra free time to sleep.
“I was a science major for my first two years of college and I feel like I got the same amount of sleep then as I do now,” said junior sociology major Tamara Smith.
Of course, when considering this survey’s data, it is important to remember that other unaccounted factors, such as jobs and extracurricular activities, influence students’ sleep schedules.
According to the McKinley Health Center at the University of Illinois, a typical college student averages six hours of sleep per night. Regardless of academic major or activity, how does the rest of NWC measure up to this statistic?
For those who do love campus nightlife, Stenenga Hall and the Heemstra floor of Colenbrander are the places to be. According to survey results, Heemstra boys get an average of six hours of sleep per night – a whole hour less than the rest of Coly. Steggy girls get even less, averaging only five hours and 15 minutes! Out of the women’s dorms, it seems that Hospers girls most value their beauty sleep, averaging six hours and 15 minutes of sleep per night.
This survey also shows upperclassmen as getting approximately an hour more sleep per night than freshmen or sophomores. “Personally, when I was a freshman, I liked the fact that I didn’t have to go to bed even when I had class at 7:45 in the morning,” said junior Nathan Lafleur. It may take a couple of years of too many late nights to realize, but as Lafleur continues, “I think upperclassmen learn when to go to bed in order to get enough sleep.”
In the end, beauty sleep just isn’t what it used to be. Women on our campus get roughly 45 minutes less sleep than men. Is it the time spent in front of the mirror applying make-up or straightening your hair that makes the difference? If so, sleep a little more and wake up looking refreshed. Applause is in order for the men across campus who know when it’s time to turn off fantasy football and crawl into bed. Because after all, sleep isn’t overrated.