University Aims to Help Sleep-Deprived Students

Published Online: Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Whereas lack of sleep among college students is a common problem, it appears to be getting worse, according to national surveys. Duke University is taking steps to help its sleep-deprived students by eliminating 8 AM classes and possibly implementing new orientation programs this fall that would help freshmen understand the importance of sleep.

College students sleep an average of 6 to 7 hours a night, down from 7 to 71/2 in the 1980s. James Clack, Duke's director of counseling and psychological services, said that the latest research indicates that college-age individuals should be getting 9 hours of sleep a night. "They begin to get into a pattern of sleeping four to five hours a night." he said. "They really think it doesn't bother them, but that really isn't the case."

Therefore, Duke's goal is to have students consider adequate sleep a part of overall wellness. Officials are thinking about conducting individual health assessments for each student to set goals for good nutrition, exercise, and plenty of sleep.

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