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Sleep Deprivation in Students

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Sleep Deprivation in Students

Detrimental Sleeping Habits Of College Students

Andrea Turco

The University of Texas at Arlington


Detrimental Sleeping Habits of College Students

        With the times ever changing so have the responsibilities and habits of college students. As the job market decreases, pay rate stays the same, but school tuition increases. This semester alone The University of Texas at Arlington had a 0.3% rise in tuition. This can cause a lot of stress to the students attending along with their already burdened load. Stress can expose itself in different forms but one that most students can relate to is poor sleep quality. This can include restlessness, difficulty falling asleep, and, when students do wake, a feeling of tiredness. These poor sleep habits can be a result from “all nighters” where students stay up as late as they are cramming for the next text, quiz, or presentation. As a result, students could be at risk for higher of stress, anxiety, and depression. This paper will explain the results from two different studies that correlate poor sleeping habits in college students compared to “normal” adults and what defines sleeping difficulties that would lead to more stress which encompasses a self-perpetuating cycle.

        In the first study by Liguori and colleagues (2011) it was hypothesized that the changes in  students sleep duration would differ among their year in school, residency, and gender. Their study shows that their is no correlation between gender and sleep deprivation, a high correlation between on-campus living and sleep deprivation compared to and off-campus living, and        year of attendance in school showed a high correlation with deprived sleep in students.

        Another study by Buboltz and colleagues (2001) hypothesized that many college students will suffer from some form of sleep disturbance. Their results showed that a large majority of students (73%) indicated occasional sleep problems with women showing more sleep difficulties than men did.

        The overall goal of these studies was to find a correlation between college students and sleep deprivation. This includes how many hours they sleep, their living situations, gender, and ranking year of attendance. Both studies recruited student volunteers from their prospected university. All students signed and returned consent forms in accordance with the Institutional Review Board. Questionnaires, surveys, and the SQI were used in these studies to determine those variables.

Method

Participants

        In Liguori and colleagues (2011) study, 820 students volunteered from a Midwest university comprising of 289 females and 531 males. These students were approached in their respected class and asked if they would participate in this study. The sample included 59% freshman, 22.6% sophomores, and 18.4% upper level students which is comprised of 9.7% juniors and 8.7% seniors. All students were solicited through their college on a voluntary basis. Race was identified but not considered during this study and was therefore considered nominal data.

        In the study conducted by Buboltz and colleagues (2001), students were approached through their psychology courses on a volunteer basis at a rural university in the South. This sample consisted of 96 women and 95 men for a total of 191 undergraduates. Race was identified but not considered during this study and was therefore considered nominal data.

Materials

        The materials used in the study by Buboltz and colleagues (2001) were a sleep-habits questionnaire, a brief series of demographic questions, and a survey packet that also included a copy of SQI (Sleep Quality Index) which is an 8 item self-report that students were asked to fill out about their general sleep difficulties. The SQI has one scale that is labeled sleep quality and for each item the participants must choose one of the three possible responses posed by this report. The possible responses are: no, < 3 days per week, and 3-7 days per week. These responses were graded with a weight of either 0, 1, or 2 with 0 representing no symptoms and 2 representing the most severe and common symptoms. The researcher would then tally up the total scores of each participants and grade them. Scores that were between 0-1 showed that students had good sleep quality, scores that ranged from 2-8 indicated occasional sleep difficulties, and scores from 9-16 indicated poor sleep quality. The sleep-habits questionnaire that participants completed was an instrumental design created by Lack. With this, Buboltz and colleagues (2001) would have the students answer open-ended questions where they would report their usual amount of sleep. This consisted of the wake-up times, their sleeping habits through the weekend and week, and also their bedtimes.

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