By R. Ryan Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

About 30% of adults experience insomnia (1), which can be thought of as daytime impairment caused by frequent difficulties falling or staying asleep or poor quality sleep (1).

College students with sleep disorders are more likely to experience academic failure (defined as GPA less than 2) compared to college students without sleep disorders (2).

Individuals with insomnia are more likely to suffer from depression, anxiety, alcohol, and drug abuse (3 ).

What are some ways of improving sleep?

The American Academy of Sleep Medicine suggests the following ways to improve sleep (4):

  • Keep a consistent sleep schedule.
  • Get up at the same time every day, even on weekends or during vacations.
  • Plan to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
  • Don’t go to bed unless you are sleepy.
  • If you don’t fall asleep after 20 minutes, get out of bed.
  • Establish a relaxing bedtime routine.
  • Use your bed only for sleep and sex.
  • Make your bedroom quiet and relaxing. Keep the room at a comfortable, cool temperature.
  • Limit exposure to bright light in the evenings.
  • Turn off electronic devices at least 30 minutes before bedtime.
  • Don’t eat a large meal before bedtime. If you are hungry at night, eat a light, healthy snack.
  • Exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet.
  • Avoid consuming caffeine in the late afternoon or evening.
  • Avoid consuming alcohol, nicotine, other drugs.
  • Reduce your fluid intake before bedtime.

Anything else?

  • For some, the effects of sleep deprivation can start by missing as little as 30 minutes or more of your usual sleep time.
  • Some people may need to eliminate caffeine or alcohol completely, gradually.
  • If you have to use electronics in the evenings, consider BLUEBLOCKERS.
  • Young adults should plan on 8 to 9 hours of sleep per night.
  • Avoidance of things that interfere with sleep: screen time (consider using a bluelight filter or nightmode). Avoid large meals/snacks at bedtime.
  • Practice Relaxation skills such as progressive muscle relaxation, meditation, deep breathing, guided imagery.
  • Positive visualization: visualize positive past or future events.
  • Consider keeping a notebook to jot down things on your mind at bedtime.
  • Avoid naps when possible, sleep more at night instead, and if you take naps, keep them brief (under 20 minutes) to avoid nighttime sleep disruption.
  • If you have had limited or no benefit from these strategies, professional treatment may be needed (see resource link below).

For more resources: Go to our mental health support options page:

By R. Ryan Patel DO, FAPA OSU-CCS Psychiatrist

Disclaimer: This article is intended to be informative only. It is advised that you check with your own physician/mental health provider before implementing any changes. With this article, the author is not rendering medical advice, nor diagnosing, prescribing, or treating any condition, or injury; and therefore claims no responsibility to any person or entity for any liability, loss, or injury caused directly or indirectly as a result of the use, application, or interpretation of the material presented.


  1. Roth T. (2007). Insomnia: definition, prevalence, etiology, and consequences. Journal of clinical sleep medicine : JCSM : official publication of the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, 3(5 Suppl), S7–S10.
  2. Gaultney JF. The prevalence of sleep disorders in college students: Impact on academic performance.  J Am Coll Health.  Sep-Oct 2010; 59 (2): 91-97.
  3. Breslau N Biol Psychiatry. 1996, 39: 411-418.

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Posted by R. Ryan Patel DO, FAPA OSU CCS Psychiatrist at 8:54amPosted in InsomniaSleep Tagged college student insomniacollege student sleepimprove sleeptreating insomniaways to improve sleep

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