Toward the end of every semester, projects and final papers pile up and tests must be studied for. Students are faced with a difficult decision: get some much-needed sleep or put those hours toward hopefully improving their GPA.
The Wellesley News emailed out a survey this week to find out how reading period and finals affect students and how they cope with the effects.
Of the students who responded to the survey, about one-third got seven hours of sleep per night during a normal week, with 33.9 percent of students falling within this demographic. Another 30.5 percent of respondents slept six hours per night. 23.7 percent of students were able to fit in eight hours of sleep per night, and a very small minority of 3.4 percent slept for nine or more hours per night. On the other hand, 8.6 percent slept fewer than five hours. On average, during a normal week in the semester, a Wellesley student gets about 6.7 hours of sleep according to our survey.
Students were also asked about sleep habits during finals and reading period. The results closely resembled responses on an ordinary night during the semester. 23.7 percent of respondents each slept seven or eight hours. Exactly as many students reported getting eight hours of sleep during finals as during other times of the year. 27.1 percent of students reported six hours of sleep. In an increase from the rest of the semester, 5.8 percent of students reported that they slept nine or more hours, and 16.9 percent said that they typically slept fewer than five hours. The average amount of sleep recorded during finals and reading period was 6.6 hours, almost identical to the rest of the semester.
On average, the sleep schedules of Wellesley students do not seem to change drastically during reading period and finals. However, during finals period, the percentage of students who sleep fewer than five hours doubled. Other students seem to use the time to catch up on sleep that has been lost throughout the semester, increasing the number of students who slept more than nine hours, although that number still remains under ten percent of all respondents.
According to the “Balanced Life” resource from Wellesley Health Services, the top health issues facing Wellesley students and affecting their academics are stress, lack of sleep and illnesses like colds and the flu. Health Services offers a few solutions to combat these issues, including sleep and stress reduction.
Health Services recommends that students get eight hours of sleep per night, something that only a quarter of survey respondents regularly do. However, it does acknowledge that different people require different amounts of sleep to function, and some may be okay with as few as six hours. To get the sleep that they need, especially during finals period, students should try to go to bed and wake up at around the same time every day, avoid substances like caffeine and alcohol in the evening and stay away from laptops and phones for at least 20 minutes before they plan to fall asleep. Have a healthy and restful reading period, and good luck with finals!