Campus / News / October 24, 2012

The struggle for sleep: Knox students fight to get recommended eight hours

It should come as no surprise that many students on campus are not receiving the recommended amount of sleep. There is a fairly popular image bouncing around the Internet that shows a pyramid of sleep, academics and a social life. Underneath, the text reads “College life: pick two.”

This seems to be a common sentiment among students, that in college one must constantly sacrifice GPA, friends or amount of rest.

According to the Mayo Clinic, adults should be sleeping seven to nine hours a night. Of course, when it comes to prepping for a last minute presentation or writing that paper that is due tomorrow, sleep seems like the easiest thing to cut. Some individuals may not even feel the need to sleep for the full seven to nine hours.

“Although some people claim to feel rested on just a few hours of sleep a night, research shows that people who sleep so little over many nights don’t perform as well on complex mental tasks as do people who get closer to seven hours of sleep a night.”

“Additionally, Mayo Clinic studies among adults show that getting much more or less than seven hours of sleep a night is associated with a higher mortality rate” (

Junior transfer Autumn Rohweder said that she is sleeping about six hours a night, similar to the amount of sleep she received at Carl Sandburg with a significant drop in quantity of sleep during midterms and finals.

“I’m always up late writing papers; I feel like that’s the prime time for writing papers, so then I’ll probably get like four hours of sleep,”  Rohweder said.

Freshman Tamyra Love admitted to receiving less sleep on average than she had in high school and averages about six or seven hours of sleep a night. On the day of the interview she had received approximately five hours of sleep the night before because she was studying for her midterm in American national government, a first period class.

Though she has never missed her first period class to catch up on sleep, she said that an early class does contribute to a lack of sleep and that she gets “way less sleep during midterms.” This is not purely for academic reasons.

During midterms and finals, students still attempt to engage actively in the social activities available on campus. So when academics become more trying, sleep — rather than social activities —  is the first thing to go.

“If you want a social life and catch up with your academics, you have to kind of trade in one or the other,” Love said.

Sophomore transfer student Olivia Barnett said she is probably sleeping more than she was able to at the University of Missouri and is netting about eight hours a night. Though Barnett falls well within the seven to nine recommended hours a night, she says that this number decreases significantly during midterms.

Samantha Paul
Samantha Paul is a senior double majoring in creative writing and Spanish. She previously served as both a news reporter and a copy editor for TKS. During the summer of 2012, Sam served as press chair of a literacy brigade in El Salvador. She has also interned with both Bloom Magazine and The Galesburg Register-Mail. At Knox, Sam is an organizational editor for Catch magazine.

Tags:  Mayo Clinic Olivia Barnett sleep Tamyra Love

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