Health+Wellness • Article

One Thing Every College Grad Needs for Success

Adrienne Samuels Gibbs

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As college students prepare to graduate and start new jobs, there's one thing that's imperative to their success: Sleep. Here's why all those bad college sleep habits also need to graduate and become a thing of the past.

Ah, college, where a 10 a.m. class is considered early.

The college shut-eye schedule doesn't always leave room for quality sleep, which can make the students' transition to the workforce that much more difficult.

But as college grads line up interviews and start working, strong sleep hygiene can help make a good first impression.

Here's what you need to know about sleep for students.


Hitting Snooze on Sleep for College Students

Many college students develop poor sleep habits. It's a common sight: You're staying up until 4 a.m. to finish papers, then catching a couple of hours of sleep between binge-watching your favorite shows.

Research by the University of Michigan and the Leuven School for Mass Communication Research in Belgium highlights the sleep impact of binge-watching shows. The shows excite your brain and cause you to stay up later, interfering with your ability to sleep. Too much binging can also lead  to back problems, depression and anxiety as well as poorer respiratory function.

It's crucial to take the summer after graduation to develops a healthy sleep schedule that promotes work success and leads to better problem-solving and communication skills.

However, the experts at Sleep Number warn against trying to boil the ocean when changing your sleep habits. Start by making small shifts and slowly change your bedtimes by 15 minutes to a half hour at a time for a few weeks.

If as a college student you tend to sleep until 10 a.m. and go to bed at 1 a.m., make it a 9:30 a.m. wake-up for a while, with bedtime at 12:30 a.m. Then, change it again by a half hour until you gradually arrive at a regular (and work-approved) sleep schedule.


Why Sleep Is Important During College — And After

Getting quality sleep is not only important for general health and wellbeing, it can also affect your job search and career opportunities.

For college grads on the job hunt, looking tired could cost you that job offer. Research shows when you're sleep-deprived, people recognize that you look and sound fatigued. You sound more monotone when tired, and your hair and facial expressions may change.

As a result, people may not want to socialize with you as frequently — a big deal when a job is on the line.

Think you can outsmart your body by hitting the hay early the night before that big interview? Not so: Sleep has cumulative effects. Only getting quality sleep the night before your big interview doesn't work. Your mind and imagination may have other plans anyways.

As for the first few days on the job, it's also important to get plenty of shut-eye. Forgoing sleep to study the company handbook and review everyone's LinkedIn profile can backfire.


How Sleep Impacts Learning — In College and Beyond

Whether talking about sleep deprivation for students or older adults, sleep science shows the part of your brain that resolves problems and remembers keywords (your frontal cortex) doesn't work as well when you're tired. This is because most of the benefits of learning something during the day are realized during the night.

Most people think they should cram and stay up to remember information when in reality, the opposite holds true. A study published by The Journal of Neuroscience found that interspersing learning sessions with sleep could be an efficient way to retain information for longer with less study.

Don't get enough sleep, and you're less likely to remember things than if you went to sleep at a reasonable time, allowing your brain to process information like it's naturally made to do.

Companies have their own slang and abbreviations, their own processes, and your brain needs sleep to rest and build those new pathways to cement all that new information.

As the study highlights, you'll enhance the learning that occurs — such as work projects and training — when you get quality sleep on a regular basis.


Invest In Quality Sleep

Like diet and exercise, quality sleep is essential for optimal health and performance.

What you sleep on is critical to helping you perform your best. A new job often means a first apartment, and possibly buying a first mattress. You spend a lot of time on your mattresses — the equivalent of 10 days a month.

The right pillow can also help you stay comfortable during the night. Did you know that there are pillows for stomach, back and side sleepers? If you're not sure which one to get, you can always take the PillowFit® quiz to get some suggestions.


Tips to Get You Started


Like diet and exercise, quality sleep has a profound impact on our physical, emotional and mental wellbeing. Because no two people sleep the same, Sleep Number 360® smart beds, with SleepIQ® technology, sense your movements and automatically adjust firmness, comfort and support to keep you both sleeping comfortably and provide proven quality sleep. Find your Sleep Number® setting for your best possible night's sleep, and if you own a Sleep Number® bed, log in to your InnerCircle℠ Rewards account to see your exclusive offers, refer friends and more.

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