If you would like to speak with a Wellness Educator/Counselor sleep concerns you have, please call (603) 862-3823. You may also make an appointment with a Health & Wellness health care provider by calling (603) 862-2856. Appointments can also be made online.
Sleep is a top concern for college students, including students at UNH. Getting a good night's sleep is essential to being healthy and well. College students need 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night.
If you're having trouble sleeping, these resources may help you find out why and discover campus resources to help.
Join us for a nap to enhance your academic performance, manage stress, and feel good. You will enjoy a mid-day relaxing napping session where you will learn about sleep, do a brief meditation/relaxation exercise, take a 30-minute nap, and do a little stretching.
All participants will get a FREE SLEEP KIT.
Free and open to the UNH community
Bring a blanket and pillow (optional)
Importance of ZZZs
Getting enough sleep helps your body and mind rest and repair and is essential to obtain the energy necessary to manage stress. Sleep is regulated by our biological rhythms that are generally governed by the circadian rhythms of the earth, moon, and sun. The rotation of earth from morning to night influences our body. It is important for our bodies to be in line with these circadian rhythms, to be awake during the day and sleep when it is dark.
Most young adults need 8-10 hours/night, but most only get 6-7 hours/night.
Light and Melatonin
Sleep is regulated by our biological rhythms that are generally governed by the circadian rhythms of the earth, moon, and sun. The rotation of earth from morning to night influences our body. It is important for our bodies to be inline with these circadian rhythms, to be awake during the day and sleep when it is dark.
Light and melatonin, a neurochemical in our bodies, are key factors in our sleep-awake cycle. When the sun sets and lights go low, melatonin is usually released. When the sun rises and light reappears, the production of melatonin is suppressed. When one spends too much time in a room with bright lights or in front of computer monitor late into the night, the release of melatonin is delayed causing disruption to the sleep-wake cycle.
Many students also alter their own biological clocks by not going to sleep when it is dark, not waking at a regular time, and not sleeping the length of time needed.
Impact of Lack of Sleep
- Negatively impacts academic performance
- Decreases memory, motivation, concentration, problem-solving skills
- Increases irritability, may make someone more short-tempered, emotional
- Aggravates stress
- Decreases creativity
- Increases fatigue
- Negatively impacts athletic performance, driving and other motor skills
- Increases proneness to accidents and injuries
- Greater likelihood of headaches and stomach upset
- Impacts the immune system making it easier to get sick and stay ill longer
- Can lead to significantly greater psychosocial issues such as depression, anxiety, cognitive difficulties
- Results in a shorter life span
You can’t make up for not getting enough sleep during the week by “binge sleeping” on weekends. This pushes biological clock further off schedule.
Daily naps are good and should be limited to 20 minutes a day; if longer it can interfere with your ability to get to sleep and to stay asleep at night. Even if you don’t fall asleep, finding time during the day to lie down, be motionless and close your eyes has relaxation benefits. Take a nap at least 7 hours before your normal bedtime to avoid disrupting your night sleep.
General Sleep Guidelines
- Try to get at least 8 hours sleep/night.
- Go to bed and get up at regular times, as often as possible, even on the weekends
- Don’t take sleeping pills unless prescribed
- If you can't fall asleep within 20 minutes, get out of bed and do something relaxing
- If you access to technology (Fitbit, Apple Watch, etc.) track your sleep patterns
- Limit the type of activities you do in bed so your body recognizes bed as resting and relaxing
Prepare Your Room for Sleep
- Create a sleeping space that is peaceful and inviting by surround yourself with your favorite colors and mementos that are important to you
- Treat yourself to bedding that is inviting by purchasing quality pillows, sheets, blankets, comforters and even a mattress topper
- Keep your room dark at night and if that is not possible, wear a sleep mask
- Keep your room temperature at 65 degrees. A room that is too warm will disrupt your sleep.
- Block out loud noises by wearing earplugs, purchasing a sound machine or downloading a soothing sounds app
- Don't bring electronics with you to bed. The light stimulates the brain, suppresses the release of melatonin and disrupts the ability to fall and stay asleep.
- Use aromatherapy (lavender and jasmine) to calm the mind and body and facilitate sleep
Prepare Your Body and Mind for Sleep
- Try relaxation techniques such as deep breathing, progressive relaxation, gentle yoga, meditation and stretching
- Create a calming sleep ritual every night by engaging in activities that you enjoy and find relaxing. This could be writing in a journal, listening to calming music, light stretching, enjoying a cup of herbal tea.
- Take a shower/bath before bed. The drop in body temperature when you get out of the shower sends a signal to your body that it is cooling down and preparing for sleep.
- Move your body daily but not within 2 hours of bedtime
- Avoid or limit alcohol which may make you fall asleep but will disrupt your sleep cycle as the alcohol gets processed through your body
- Don’t drink coffee, tea or energy drinks (anything with caffeine) any later than early-afternoon
- Avoid tobacco products which make it more difficult to fall asleep and stay asleep
- Nourish your body with a variety of foods that provide needed vitamins and minerals
Study Smarter for Better Night's Sleep
- Say no to “all nighters” and instead prioritize your time so that you aren't left cramming
- Stop studying and working at least 30-60 minutes before bed
- Make a list of tasks you need to do or keep a “worry list” so you don’t need to take these thoughts to bed with you
Getting Help for Sleep Concerns at UNH
- Wellness Coaching is available to help you better understand what is getting in the way of your sleep and create a personalized plan to help you get a better night's sleep. Education on sleep hygiene is also included in the sessions.
- Medical consultation is also available with one of our clinicians.
- Make an appointment online or by calling (603) 862-9355.