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The University of Alabama

UA Matters: Importance of Adequate Sleep

Dr. Adam Knowlden

Dr. Adam Knowlden

Catching the appropriate number of z’s each night is important.

The University of Alabama’s Dr. Adam Knowlden offers insight into the importance of sleep and a few tips to help you rest well and awaken refreshed.

  • Loss of sleep is not just an inconvenience; sleep deprivation is linked to work-related fatalities and motor vehicle accidents.
  • Population-based evidence suggests adults require 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
  • There is evidence too much sleep (more than 8 hours) has negative, long-term health effects, though the reasons for this are not well understood and are debated.
  • To improve sleep onset, it is helpful to avoid activities that increase mental stimulation near bedtime. Such activities include social media, watching stimulating television or studying.
  • For college students with flexible schedules, limit naps to 15 to 20 minutes. If longer naps are needed, the person may be sleep deprived. Long naps can interfere with natural nighttime sleep drive.
  • Try not to change bedtime and wake time by more than two hours, as this could throw off the body’s internal clock. The same bed/wake time each day is ideal.

Dr. Knowlden is a UA assistant professor of health science in the College of Human Environmental Sciences.

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UA Matters is a weekly posting that offers information and tips on consumer issues facing Alabamians. The information is available to reprint in your publication free of charge. Also, access to subject matter experts is available upon request. For more information, contact Kim Eaton at 205/348-8325 or kkeaton@ur.ua.edu>.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.