For some, college life is synonymous with days full of classes, long nights of studying and the occasional party. Sleep? Sleep is an afterthought. But a week-long campaign aimed at tired University of California, Riverside students is looking to change that mindset by encouraging them to make sleep a priority.
UCR’s Sleep/Nap Campaign ran from March 5 through March 11, to coincide with National Sleep Awareness Week, sponsored by the National Sleep Foundation. The program fell during the ninth week of UCR’s Winter Quarter, a time where students are ramping up their studying in preparation for final exams.
“Students who don’t get enough rest often feel tired, stressed and sluggish and have difficulty focusing,” said Devon Sakamoto, coordinator of health education initiatives for The Well. “Students are often amazed at how much better they feel and perform when they are well rested.”
Research by the National Sleep Foundation shows that teenagers need between 8.5 and 9.25 hours of sleep per night, while adults 18 and over need between seven and nine hours. A study published in the Journal of Adolescent Health in February 2010 revealed that over 60% of the college students surveyed were categorized as poor-quality sleepers, with emotional and academic stress negatively impacting sleep. Students who were considered poor-quality sleepers reported suffering more physical and psychological health problems than good-quality sleepers.
“There is a lack of knowledge about the benefits of sleep for stress and performance,” said UCR Professor of Psychology Sara Mednick, author of Take a Nap! Change Your Life. “Sleep is the first thing to go when people get stressed, but unfortunately it is also the best antidote to stress.”
Mednick will presented a sleep seminar for graduate and international students on Wednesday where she discuss her research on the benefits getting a good night’s sleep and tried to break some of the negative stereotypes that surround the idea of a midday nap.
“That is one reason we are doing this research, to show through scientific discovery that sleep is important,” she said.
Also scheduled on Wednesday was the No Stress Sleep Fest, which featured helpful resources about sleeping, napping and managing stress, as well as free food, massages, stress relief and other “soothing activities.” There were even nap chairs provided for students to relax and take a nap.
On Friday, March 9, “Nap-Ins” were held where students could check in at one of the three napping spaces between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Throughout the week, students could pick up a free nap kit, featuring an eye mask, earplugs and a tip-sheet with information about napping.
The Sleep/Nap Campaign was sponsored by UCR’s Student Wellness Partners, including the Counseling Center, International Education Center, Campus Health Center, Student Recreation Center, The Well, The Dean of Students and Housing, Dining & Residential Services.
This creative campaign helped raise awareness about the benefits of sleep for overall health at a time when students are just about to head into some of the most stressful weeks of school. The future of Riverside’s position as the home of next-century health care relies first and foremost on the overall wellness of its residents, and UCR’s campaign promotes this notion with specific emphasis on the health of students.
Article reproduced from UCR Today: http://ucrtoday.ucr.edu/3723