Sleep Deprivation in the College Student: A Problem Worth Addressing
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Sleep deprivation is a common problem in the young adult college student population. Sleep deprivation is linked to decreased physical health, mental health, and academic performance. Assessment of the young adult patient's sleep habits is as important as assessing their diet and exercise habits. This article provides an overview of the physiology of sleep and the adverse effects of inadequate sleep. The article also outlines guidance for both assessment and treatment of sleep deprivation in the traditional college student patient. Sleep history and sleep diary templates are provided that may be used by the nurse practitioner to assess the college age student for sleep problems. Behavioral, cognitive, and pharmacologic therapies for the treatment of sleep deprivation are discussed along with some guidelines for their use. The nurse practitioner demonstrates the importance of maintaining adequate sleep to the young adult by assessing and addressing his or her sleep needs at each visit.