Sarah has covered news topics for digital and print publications. She holds a degree in broadcast journalism from the University of Nevada.
The research behind mental health and its connection to sleep continues to develop, and evidence points to sleep (or lack thereof) having a direct impact on mental health.
A group that struggles with achieving adequate sleep is college students. Now, a new study illustrates how students with depressive symptoms and high stress levels may be more likely to experience diminished sleep quality.
Researchers worked with more than one thousand full-time college students at a public university in Brazil, and aimed to explore the prevalence of poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS) and analyze the association with aspects of mental health.
Participants were asked to rate their stress and sleep levels through questionnaires about their demographics, socioeconomics, mental health, sleep quality, and excessive daytime sleepiness (EDS).
Tendency to have poor sleep quality and excessive daytime sleepiness were both found among the participants. Notably, both metrics saw significantly higher numbers in females than males.
For EDS, there was also a significant association with moderate and high perceived stress, presence of depressive symptoms, and the field of students’ study — those studying biological and health sciences.
EDS affects between 10% and 20% of the population, and can link to underlying issues such as sleep apnea, narcolepsy, and insomnia.
Between the hectic schedules and transition into adulthood, sleep habits can easily fluctuate during a person’s time in college. Making sleep a priority for college students benefits not only overall wellness, but can also improve academic performance.
In order to improve sleep quality, students should begin with maintaining good sleep hygiene — a consistent practice of good sleep habits. This includes establishing consistent sleep and wake times, avoiding electronics before bed, and getting sunlight between classes and late-night study sessions.