2009 - 2010 Undergraduate Research in Nutrition and Food Science
An insufficient amount of nightly sleep is most common among adolescents and young adults, including college students. Whether students are up late cramming for an exam, finishing homework, working or choosing to stay out late partying, a good night's rest is often hard to come by. The relationship between sleeping habits and overall health was examined in 194 undergraduate students at the University of Kentucky. The participants included 121 female students (age 20.9 +/-2.53 years) and 73 male students (age 21.4 +/-2.19 years). There was significant variability in body mass index (BMI) ranging from 17 to 42 kg/m . It was found that the students averaged 6.83 hours of sleep on school nights and 7.77 hours of sleep on weekend nights. An overwhelming majority of the students surveyed (80.4%) indicated that they noticed having lower energy when sleeping for less than 6 hours the night before. About half of the students (52.6%) indicated that it was more difficult to eat healthy when they slept for less than 6 hours. Sleep is necessary for proper mental and physical functioning, and it is imperative that college students understand the importance of adequate sleep because they need extra energy to compensate for their demanding daily routines.