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We all know that a good night’s sleep is important for maintaining energy and alertness during the day, but did you know that sleeping for at least eight hours every night can have numerous psychological benefits and help students perform better in school? 

According to Harvard’s Division of Sleep Medicine, only 11 percent of U.S. college students sleep well. Americans are chronically under-rested in general, and college students’ busy schedules and late-night lifestyle habits can deprive them of even more needed zzz’s. Sleep deprivation has been associated with a number of health conditions, such as increased risk for depression, diabetes, heart disease, and stroke.

Conversely, sleeping at least 8 hours every night has been shown to have dramatic positive impacts on the brain and body. Here are five important benefits of getting adequate quality sleep.

1. Improved immune system. Sleep deprivation is one of the major causes of compromised immune systems. When students are adequately rested, their bodies have a higher chance of fighting off unwelcome Intruders like cold and flu bugs, and they will get sick less often. 

  1. Longer attention spans. Adequate sleep can significantly boost focus and attention. When their brains and bodies are not fully rested, students can become more easily distracted and prone to daydreaming, procrastination, and feelings of “foggy headedness.”
  2. Improved memory. One of the important functions of sleep is memory consolidation and storage. Studies have shown that getting a good night’s rest can actually improve memory and help students perform better on tests and in the classroom.
  3. Better mood. College students who are sleep deprived may oscillate between feeling hyperactive and feeling grumpy, mimicking the symptoms of ADHD or bipolar disorder. Often, these individuals just need to get a lot of rest and sleep over the course of a few days and their mood will stabilize. 
  4. Mental health benefits. Studies have shown that adequate sleep can improve symptoms of mental health disorders, such as anxiety and depression. Sleep deprivation and sleep disruption affect the body’s hormone and chemical balance, which can then lead to or exacerbate mental health issues.

If you have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep at night, try practicing good sleep hygiene and habits such as avoiding blue light, caffeine, and alcohol before bed. Noise machines, blackout curtains, and earplugs have also been shown to block out distractions and improve sleep quality. 

College graduates are facing a long, uphill climb when it comes to securing employment that meets their qualifications and requirements. That’s why RecDiv created an online job platform specifically to connect HBCU students and alumni with employers looking to hire diverse talent. Check out our site to learn more.