But some students at UNC reported having erratic or sleep-poor schedules. Others credit extracurricular activities for taking the place of sleep in their schedules.
“I don’t really have a sleep schedule,” Alexander Ung, a sophomore at UNC, said.
Junior Maaya Dev said she averages 5 hours of sleep a night on weekdays. But among her friends, she said she does not feel that far from the norm.
“I definitely don’t feel like I’m an anomaly; I definitely know people that are similar,” Dev said.
Getting sleep as a college student can be extremely difficult, said Natalie Giduz, a UNC first-year.
“Professors don’t really understand. I think professors sometimes feel that their class is the only class students are taking,” Giduz said.
While Giduz is pessimistic about the broader state of sleep in college communities, she said she personally aims to get at least 10 hours of sleep a night. And Giduz said her commitment to her sleep may not mark her as a minority.
Sophomore Irmak Saklayici, who is double majoring in biology and chemistry, has taken these messages to heart. Saklayici said she used to barely sleep while at UNC, but has taken steps to prioritize sleep this semester. She said sleeping more has helped her become more productive.
“I’ve come to a point where I can tell when I need to just sleep rather than work, and I’ve kind of found a balance between both,” Saklayici said. “If I overworked myself, and I’m not getting enough sleep, I just become much slower when I’m doing things, and the quality of work I do isn’t as good.”
For those still struggling to balance sleep and life, Dinges has some crucial advice.
“The tricky part in college is there’s so much to do, going on socially, academically, sports-wise, etc., that you got to be disciplined about how you use time. Don’t waste it,” Dinges said.
“If you’re gonna sit there and veg out on TV, hell, take half of that time and spend it sleeping.”