Sleep

Sleep is a critical factor in NYU students’ academic success and general wellbeing. NYU students typically have strenuous schedules replete with class, homework, part-time jobs, extracurricular clubs and activities, in addition to all of the exciting events the surrounding city has to offer. However with these opportunities and responsibilities, students often do not get adequate sleep. Short-term effects of sleep deprivation include decreased cognitive function, memory, performance and alertness. In the long term, sleep deprivation can be associated with obesity, mental and physical health impairments, and attention deficit disorder.1


Key Facts

  • “Sleep difficulties” ranks third on the list of factors which impact students’ academics.2
  • Fatigue costs the workplace $136 billion per year in lost productivity.3
  • An estimated 50-70 million U.S. adults have sleep or wakefulness disorder.4
  • 7 million primary care office visits are due to symptoms of significant fatigue each year in the U.S.5
  • Almost 20 % of all serious car crash injuries in the general population are associated with driver sleepiness.4
  • Sleep is involved in the acquisition, maintenance and retrieval of memories, as well as memory consolidation. Consequently, sleep deprivation has been shown to impact both working memory and long-term memory processes.6,7
  • Sleep deprivation and debt can adversely affect brain and cognitive function, including one’s decision-making process and attention.8
  • Compared to non-sleep deprived individuals, individuals with chronic sleep loss are less productive, have health care needs greater than the norm, and have an increased likelihood of injury.9

Suggestions for Administrators & Staff

This page is intended to be a resource containing suggestions for what you can do to help NYU students get adequate sleep and decrease consequences from sleep difficulties.

Refer students who routinely appear sleep deprived to the Sleep Toolkit, offered through Counseling and Wellness Health Services. Toolkits are two-part workshops designed to help students develop and practice new skills to enhance personal, academic and social well-being.

Advise your students to create a schedule in order to prioritize tasks. Poor planning and excessive stress are common causes of inadequate sleep. Students who see themselves as being in control of their time, a feature indicative of good time management, report experiencing less negative characteristics related to stress.Practice with time management can lead to better study habits, increased overall productivity, and improved sleep schedules during busy times in the semester.

Periodically remind your students of upcoming deadlines. Encouraging your students to begin academic or extracurricular projects and studying for exams earlier may help them avoid late night cram sessions and establish healthier sleep habits. Pulling all-nighters compromises student overall sleep and makes it difficult to reach their full potential.

Ask your students to attend an event on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Although they might be unhappy, by encouraging students to wake up early on the weekend, you are helping them maintain a regular sleep and wake pattern which will help them develop healthy sleeping habits.22

When hosting a late-night program, end the program with a form of meditation or another sleep-promoting exercise. Sleep-promoting behaviors may significantly improve sleep habits and reduce sleep difficulties among students.23 Visit the NYU Relaxation Oasis for suggested exercises.


sleep indicators