College Crocks: Sleep…. When? How? Why?

Brendan Ulanch

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The very first thing that I think about after I wake up in the morning is when will my head hit this pillow again. Is that selfish? Is that concerning? Is that normal? In today’s college lifestyle, yes it is. 

In high school, I averaged about five hours of sleep per night and, when I got to GVSU, I planned on trying my hardest to increase that awful number. However, we all have things that have to get done. Not only do I have school, but also work, clubs and the all-too-real urge to fall asleep whenever I have a split second of calmness. Yes, I count my drowsiness as a task because it makes everything else take twice as long to accomplish. 

Now, what is sleep and do we really need it? Truthfully, I wish we didn’t need it at all. I could get so many more things done without having to shut my eyes every night, but I have to admit that getting under a bunch of blankets in a freezing cold room is the closest to complete comfort I think I’ll ever get in life. 

Unfortunately, we cannot go that long without it. Anyone that has been in school for at least a couple of weeks completely understands this, and, believe me, I have tried to go without it. One all-nighter is enough for me in my college career, but I know that there are many more ahead. According to, not only does sleep directly affect physical performance, but it also greatly affects emotional responses, stress levels, social interaction, caloric intake and can even increase risk for heart disease. 

In short, if you want to survive this whirlwind called college, get some sleep. Throw that phone somewhere far away from your bed. Complete darkness is beneficial. Make sure that wherever you sleep is comfortable. It’s simple, but important. 

Time management is key. Try not to push assignments off until the last second. If you do not need to do something, then don’t. Doing extra things when they are not necessary and losing sleep as a result makes simple tasks much more difficult to accomplish. For example, staying up all night to finish the reading assignment when you know for certain that the book will not be talked about in class or even tested on. In return, one may completely forget about a club meeting the next day. I am guilty of this. Get that extra hour of sleep instead. Trying to accomplish everything is important, but sleep needs to be top priority. Try to go by the phrase “work smarter and not harder”. 

Sleep seems to be the mortal enemy and also the most desired prize to any college student. I am here to inform you that it doesn’t have to be either. Sleep is very important and can be the difference maker between a healthy college life and a terrible one. It can not only affect yourself, but also everyone around you. Sleep, after all, isn’t a crock.