15 Sleep Tips for How College Students Can Get 8 Hours of Sleep

Young woman sleeping in bed with her head on a white pillow.
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It can be hard for college students to get 8 hours of sleep. However, it is important for their health and academic performance to get enough sleep each night.

College students can get 8 hours of sleep by avoiding stimulants and limiting naps and electronics before bed. They should make their room and bed comfortable and only use them for sleep, and create a bedtime routine and sleep schedule.

They should also exercise, practice relaxation techniques, and go outside daily.

Before we go more in-depth on sleep tips for college students, let’s look at why sleep is important and how much sleep we need.

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Why is it important to get a good night’s sleep?

It is important to get a good night’s sleep because sleep is when you process and commit information to memory and repair your body. Getting enough sleep boosts your immune system, improves your mental health, helps you stay alert and focused during the day, and leads to better grades.

Getting enough sleep helps you learn and remember the information from your classes.

Sleep also improves your mood and reduces stress, and increases memory and problem-solving skills.

Since sleep deprivation impacts reaction time and cognitive function, which can result in accidents and injuries, getting enough sleep also helps keep you safe.

Effects of sleep deprivation on students

According to the National Institute of Health (NIH)Opens in a new tab., sleep deprivation or lack of sleep regularly increases the risk of heart disease, stroke, obesity, and dementia.

Sleep deprivation makes it difficult to concentrate, think clearly, remember information, and use your critical thinking and problem-solving skills. It also increases stress, mood shifts, and increased risk of injury. It can lead to lower grades and worse academic performance.

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How many hours should a student sleep at night?

According to the sleep foundationOpens in a new tab., adults need 7-9 hours of sleep each night.

Additionally, the quality of sleep is equally important as the quantity of sleep. That is why it is important to establish good sleep habits (which are discussed below).

Is 7 hours of sleep enough for a student?

A student getting 7 hours of sleep is in the recommended range (7-9 hours), but it is not enough sleep for everyone. Whether this is enough for you will depend on how much sleep your body needs—assess how you feel after 7 hours of sleep.

You can also see how long you sleep on a night when you are not sleep deprived (you have previously been getting 7-9 hours of sleep), and you do not have to get up early the next day. If you automatically sleep for more than 7 hours under those circumstances, then 7 hours of sleep is probably not enough for you each night.

To see how you feel with more or less sleep, try keeping a journal or sleep diary for a while and see what differences you notice.

Is 6 hours of sleep enough for a student?

Getting 6 hours of sleep is not enough for a student (or anyone). It can be fine occasionally, but not as your regular amount of sleep.

While some people can get by and appear to function well on 6 hours of sleep, most people will be less productive and suffer the effects of sleep deprivation.

Is 5 hours of sleep enough for a student?

Getting 5 hours of sleep is not enough for a student (or anyone else). On only 5 hours of sleep, students will have difficulty focusing, remembering information, and using their critical thinking and problem-solving skills. Their academic performance, mood, and health will suffer.

Now that we know how much sleep students need, let’s look at how much they actually get.

How much sleep do college students get on average?

According to the CDCOpens in a new tab., students get 7 hours of sleep per night, but 60% have poor-quality sleep.

The University of GeorgiaOpens in a new tab. says college students average 6-6.9 hours per night.

The average amount of sleep that college students get varies depending on the source, but it is clear that students do not get enough sleep.

Is it normal to be sleep-deprived in college?

It is common for students to be sleep-deprived in college. According to the NIHOpens in a new tab., 70.6% of college students say they get less than 8 hours a night, and 60% say they feel sleepy or tired at least 3 days a week.

I want to emphasize that while it may be common, it is not “normal” and certainly not healthy to be sleep-deprived.

Why are college students having trouble sleeping?

College students can have trouble sleeping because they have an overpacked schedule, are stressed, are night owls, or overuse substances such as nicotine, caffeine, or certain drugs. They may also have insomnia or other sleep disorders.

If practicing good sleeping habits for college students doesn’t help, they should talk to a healthcare provider.

Why do college students sleep so much?

While most college students do not get enough sleep, some college students may sleep a lot or at least appear to sleep a lot.

College students that sleep a lot (or appear to) might be night owls, so they sleep during the day. They may also pull all-nighters and then sleep for a longer time to recover. They could also suffer from depression, a sleep disorder, or other health conditions that cause them to sleep an excessive amount.

If you are overly tired or experiencing other symptoms, it is important to talk to a healthcare provider.

15 sleep tips for how college students can get 8 hours of sleep

Many students wonder, “How can college students get 8 hours of sleep?” or even “How can I get a good night’s sleep in college?”.

This is perfectly understandable—getting a good night’s sleep can sometimes feel impossible.

Let’s go over the best sleep tips for college students.

1. Prioritize sleep

The first step to getting 8 hours of sleep is recognizing that this is needed and prioritizing your sleep.

You will have to be committed to getting enough sleep to implement these sleep tips and develop good sleeping habits.

2. Avoid stimulants

Avoid stimulants such as nicotine and caffeine since they can keep you awake.

Keep in mind that the recommendationOpens in a new tab. is to stop consuming caffeine at least 6 hours before bed. You don’t want to drink coffee all day long.

3. Don’t eat or drink alcohol before bed

Avoid alcohol and large meals before bed since they can disturb your sleep.

4. Limit naps

Try to limit your naps—both when you take naps and for how long you take them.

Don’t nap first thing in the morning since you need to signal to your body that it is time to wake up. Also, don’t take naps after mid-afternoon since they can make it harder to get to sleep at night.

When you do take naps, keep them short (30 minutes or less).

5. Limit electronics before bed

According to the Cleveland ClinicOpens in a new tab., the blue light emitted by electronics suppresses melatonin production, which helps regulate sleep, and your devices keep your mind active, which is the opposite of what you want to do before bed.

It is best if you can avoid electronics for an hour before bed. If this seems too hard, make sure to at least not use your phone once you are in bed.

6. Create a positive environment for sleep

Opens in a new tab.

You want to make your room and bed a positive environment for sleep.

Make sure you have a comfortable bed, blanketsOpens in a new tab., and pillowsOpens in a new tab.. You could also consider using a weighted blanketOpens in a new tab..

Keep your room cool, dark, and quiet. You could use an eye maskOpens in a new tab. or blackout curtainsOpens in a new tab. to keep it dark. I use blackout curtains, and I love them.

To keep it quiet, you can use earplugs (these are the onesOpens in a new tab. that I like), noise-canceling headphones (I use and highly recommend BoseOpens in a new tab.), or a white noise machineOpens in a new tab..

Also, make sure to silence your phone.

7. Only use your room for sleep

You can also make your environment more conducive to sleep by creating an association between your room and sleep.

Use your bedroom only for sleep and sex, not working, so your brain associates your room and bed with sleep.

This is not possible for everyone, as many people have to work in their bedrooms. In that case, make sure that you are only using your bed for sleep (or sex) so that your mind doesn’t associate getting into bed with studying or doing homework, only with sleeping.

If you can’t fall asleep at night, do not just stay in bed wide awake. After 20-45 minutes of trying to get to sleep, get up and do a relaxing activity until you feel more tired.

8. Create a bedtime routine

Another way to signal your mind and body that it is time to sleep is by creating a bedtime routine that you do each night.

There is no one bedtime routine for college students that is best—the important thing is that it is relaxing and you are consistent with your routine.

You can review your day or write in a journal. Then prepare for the next day by picking out your clothes, packing your bag, and making a to-do list. You will feel more on top of things and set yourself up for a successful morning.

You can then get ready for bed. Dim the lights and practice relaxation techniques, such as taking a bath, reading, listening to calming music, meditating, or deep breathing. You are signaling that it is time to sleep.

9. Establish a sleep schedule

You can help your body’s internal clock by being consistent with when you go to bed and get up each day.

I think this is by far the most difficult sleep tip to implement, but researchOpens in a new tab. also finds it highly effective and beneficial for our health.

Develop a consistent sleep schedule by going to bed and waking up at the same time each day (even on weekends).

When you go should go to bed and wake up will depend on your sleep preferences, how much sleep you need, if you are a night owl or an early bird, and your schedule.

There is no one-size-fits-all when it comes to sleep (or hardly anything else health-related), but let’s look at some advice on the best time to sleep and wake up for students.

What is the best time to sleep for a student?

In general, the best time to sleep for a college student is 10-11 pm.

However, individual preferences and lifestyles will vary, so you can find the best time for you to go to sleep by deciding when you need to wake up and going to bed seven and a half to nine and a half hours earlier (factor in at least 30 minutes for downtime and your bedtime routine).

If you are more productive in the morning, schedule it so that you can wake up early and get some things done or study before you start your day.

If you are a night owl, you can go to bed later and wake up later.

It matters less what time you go to sleep and more that you are consistent and go to sleep around that time every night.

What is the best time to wake up for a student?

In general, the best time to wake up is 6-8 am. However, as with going to bed, the best time to wake up will vary depending on the person.

You want to set a wake-up time that allows you to get 7-9 hours of sleep, leaves you enough time to get ready in the morning, and that you can consistently wake up at.

Don’t be too ambitious here and set a 5:30 wake-up time so you can get a lot done if you know that you regularly don’t go to bed till midnight. You want to be realistic so that you can actually stick to your sleep schedule.

10. Plan your day

Another part of being realistic is that you plan your day around your sleep schedule and when you are most productive (morning or evening).

If you are a zombie in the mornings (like me), don’t sign up for or plan classes or study groups that meet early in the morning. If you are asleep by 8, don’t plan to take night classes or study in the evenings.

Work with your personal preferences and strengths, not against them.

Either way, make sure you take breaks during the day, so you don’t get overstimulated and overwhelmed since this can make it harder to go to sleep.

11. Be active in the morning

Whenever you do wake up, try to get natural light and be active within the first hour you’re awake. This helps your body know it is time to be awake.

12. Exercise regularly

Aim to exercise daily, but avoid rigorous exercise too close to bedtime since this can keep you awake.

13. Go outside each day

Go outside for at least 30 minutes a day to get natural light and fresh air.

14. Practice relaxation techniques

Stress can make it harder to go to sleep. It can be helpful to practice relaxation techniques such as yoga, meditation, deep breathing, or progressive muscle relaxation.

I highly recommend you look up body scan meditations on youtube.

15. Give yourself time to establish new habits

Good sleeping habits for college students are not easy. When establishing any new habit, it is best to focus on changing one thing at a time and making adjustments gradually.

Don’t expect yourself to go from going to bed at 3 am to 10 pm overnight. Slowly move back your bedtime each day until you reach your goal.

Be patient with yourself and cut yourself some slack if you have a hard time implementing some of these tips. When you do stick to a new habit, give yourself a reward! You deserve it.

Now that you know what students can do to get more sleep, check out some of my favorite blankets in my Gift Guide for Online College StudentsOpens in a new tab. and Gift Guide for College GirlsOpens in a new tab..

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