High levels of stress and insufficient sleep can impact students’ physical health, emotional wellbeing, and academic success. In fact, stress and insufficient sleep are the leading impediments to academic success among NYU students. Short-term effects of sleep deprivation include decreased cognitive function, memory, performance, and alertness. Minimizing stressors and supporting healthy coping strategies can help students reduce the destructive consequences of excessive stress and sleep deprivation, while improving their overall wellbeing, quality of life, and academic performance.  

Key Facts

  • 55% of students, nationally, claimed their biggest stressor to be academic in nature. (1)
  • College students who experienced stressful life events also reported worse health outcomes and reduced quality of life. (2)
    Stress is the number one reported impediment to academic performance. (3)
  • Negative physical effects of stress include immune system suppression, which can increase susceptibility to physical illness and psychological conditions such as anxiety and depression. (4)
  • Students who engaged in meditation practices demonstrated significantly greater reductions in perceived stress than students who did not. (5)
  • “Sleep difficulties” ranks third on the list of factors which impact students’ academics. (6)
  • Sleep deprivation and debt can adversely affect brain and cognitive function, including one’s decision-making process and attention (7)
  • 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 (8)

street and sleep indicators



1. Dusselier, L., Dunn, B., Yongyi W., Shelley II, M., & Whalen, D. (2005). Personal, health, academic, and environmental predictors of stress in residence halls. Journal of American College Health, 54(1), 15-24.
2. Damush, T.T., Hays, R.D., & DiMatto, M.R. (1997). Stressful life events and health-related quality of life in college students. Journal of College Student Development, 38, 181-190.
3. American College Health Association. American College Association – National College Health Assessment 2010 National Data. Hanover, MD.
4. Quick, J.D., Horn, R.S., & Quick, J.C. (1987). Health consequences of stress. Journal of Organizational Behavior Management, 8( 2), 19 – 36.
5. Oman, D., Shapiro, S.L., Thoresen, C.E., Plante, T.G., & Flinders, T. (2008). Meditation lowers stress and supports forgiveness among college students: A randomized controlled trial. Journal of American College Health, 56(5), 569-578.
6. American College Health Association. (2009). American College Health Association - National College Health Assessment II: New York University Executive Summary Spring 2009. H, MD: Author.
7. Ratcliff, R., & Van Dongen, H.P. (2009). Sleep deprivation affects multiple distinct cognitive processes. Psychonomic Bulletin and Review, 16(4), 742-51.
8. Colten, H.R., & Altevog, B.M. (2006). Sleep Disorders and sleep deprivation: An unmet public health problem. Institute of Medicine (U.S.). Committee on Sleep Medicine and Research. Washington DC: National Academies Press.
9. Klainberg, M., Ewing, B., & Ryan, M. (2010). Reducing stress on a college campus. Journal of the New York State Nurses Association, 41(2), 4-7.
10. Lumley, M. A., & Provenzano, K. M. (2003). Stress management through written emotional disclosure improves academic perform ance among college st
11. Warnecke, E., Quinn, S., Ogden, K., Towle, N. & Nelson, M.R. A randomised controlled trial of the effects of mindfulness practice on medical student stress levels. Medical Education, 45(4), 381–388.
12. Brown, F.C., Buboltz, & W.C., Soper, B. (2006). Development and Evaluation of the Sleep Treatment and Education Program for Students (STEPS). Journal of American College Health, 54(4), 231-237.
13. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. (2011, January). Sleep hygiene tips. Atlanta, GA: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.