Icon of a person sleeping in bed

You need Zzzz's for A's!

The average college student only gets 6 hours of sleep a night when they really need 7-9 hours. So what's the big deal?

Not getting enough quality sleep can lower your immune system making you more likely to get sick. Not enough sleep can also lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety, and problems with memory, attention, and concentration. Poor sleep has a bigger negative impact on grades than binge drinking, marijuana use, and being physically ill. Getting enough quality sleep each night can help you feel more awake and alert, increase your academic performance, and help you work at peak performance.

Studies have found that students who get enough sleep average a whole letter grade better than those that didn't.

Before you read on, find out how sleepy you are by taking the Epworth Sleepiness Scale which measures your amount of daytime sleepiness.

Did you score more than 10? There are many things you can do to get more quality sleep. Try making small changes such as incorporating one new tip each week into your day!

Sleep Tips

Tips for Good Sleep

  • Avoid caffeine four to five hours before going to bed. Caffeine can stay in your system for up to 8 hours! Many foods and drinks have caffeine in them such as chocolate, tea, and coffee flavored ice cream.
  • Avoid alcohol before bed. It is a common myth that alcohol will help you sleep. In fact, drinking alcohol will decrease the duration and quality of your sleep.
  • Avoid large meals right before going to bed. If you are hungry, just eat a light snack.
  • Have a bed time routine.
  • Relax before bed. Take a hot shower, listen to relaxing music, or do some relaxation exercises such as yoga.
  • Put away electronics 30 minutes to an hour before bed and read an actual book (not your Kindle or Nook) until you are drowsy.
  • Have a regular sleep wake schedule. Try to go to sleep and wake up at the same time every day. If you find yourself, staying up later and sleeping in later on the weekends, try to keep the variation in your sleep schedule to less than 2 hours.
  • Transform your room into a good sleep environment. Your room should be completely dark, cool (between 60-67ºF), quiet, and free of distractions (that means turning off your phone!)

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Tips for Falling Asleep

  • Keep a pad of paper next to your bed at night to write down thoughts or things that are stressing you out. Write out the problem on one page and a solution to it on the other, even if it's "I'll figure it out tomorrow."
  • If you don't fall asleep within 45 minutes, do something easy, like reading for 15-25 minute, and then try going back to bed.

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Take a Nap!

Students who take naps have better GPAs! But there are some things to remember before you take your mid-day snooze:

  • Naps should last no longer than 45 minutes. Even a 10 minute nap can give you energy and improve your mental performance.
  • Don't take naps after 3:00pm.
  • If you're finding you are having a hard time falling asleep at night after taking an afternoon nap, think about shortening the nap or stop taking them.

We want to know where your favorite spot on campus is to nap! Let us know here!

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Living with a Roommate and Good Sleep

It's hard sharing a house or room with someone that has the complete opposite sleep schedule that you do. Here are some tips from SF State students on how they successfully dealt with it:

  • Communicate! Talk with your roommates about when they go to sleep and get up.
  • Set rules with your roommates, such as putting in headphones in to listen to music after 10:00pm.
  • Be mindful and respectful of your roommates sleep schedule.

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Sleep Resources

SF State Counseling and Psychological Services

Student Services Building, Room 208

Phone: (415) 338-2208

UCSF Sleep Disorders Center

2330 Post St., Suite 420

San Francisco, CA 94115

Phone: (415) 885-7886

National Sleep Foundation

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - Sleep and Sleep Disorders

American Academy of Sleep Medicine - Sleep Education\

Sleep Disorders

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Sleep Apps

Having your phone by you can disturb your sleep. We recommend using these apps as a resource to find out what type of sleep cycle you have then use the recommendations above to make changes to your sleep habits. SF State and SF State Student Health Services do not endorse a specific brand or product, these are suggestions.

Sleep Cycle - iPhone ($0.99), Android ($1.99)

Monitors your movement while you sleep and then determines the best time for you to wake during your lightest sleep phase, allowing you to feel awake and rested.

Sleep Time - iPhone (free and $1.99), Android (free)

Detects movement while you sleep to determine the best time for you to wake in the morning. Provides weekly graphs of your sleep cycle.

Sleep Bot - iPhone (free), Android (free)

Records your movements and sounds while you sleep. Gradually wakes you up with alarms during your lightest sleep cycle.

f.lux (free)

Software for your computer that adjusts the brightness of the screen to reflect the time of day or brightness of the room so at night you won't be staring a bright screen that affect your sleep.

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