Since returning home, Missouri State students' sleep schedules have drastically been changing due to not having a solid work schedule or in-person classes anymore. Some students have been staying up into the early morning and then sleeping into the afternoon. 

“My sleep schedule is going to bed with melatonin every night since I got laid off on March 19,” said senior Marissa Ruiz who is graduating with a bachelor’s degree in recreation, sport and park administration. “Anywhere from 2-6 a.m. I fall asleep and wake up anywhere from 1-3 p.m.” 

Another student who falls asleep in the early hours of the morning and wakes up mid-afternoon is senior Rachel Drace, who is an art education major and was student teaching this semester.

“Right now, I go to bed around 1:00 a.m. and wake up between 10:30 a.m.-12 p.m.,” Drace said. “I’d like to get back into a schedule, but I’m not super worried about it.”

Many students have a more relaxed schedule since classes are online and work isn’t available for everyone right now. 

“I got laid off work and all my teaching is virtual now,” Drace said. “My schedule doesn’t rely on me being awake at certain times.” 

But having a consistent sleep schedule helps not only your physical health, but also your mental health. 

Jerilyn Reed, a student wellness educator who works at the Health and Wellness Center at Missouri State, says students should maintain a sleep schedule.

Sleep is an important part of our brains working correctly and having an irregular sleep schedule can cause brain fatigue along with physical and mental health problems, according to Reed.

“Brain fatigue can lead to trouble making decisions, solving problems, controlling your emotions and behavior, and coping with change,” Reed said. “A deficient and irregular sleep schedule is also linked to depression, including thoughts of suicide and risk-taking behavior. Physically, lack of sleep can lead to many more issues such as an increased risk for heart disease, kidney disease, high blood pressure and obesity.”

While there isn’t really anything routine about the coronavirus pandemic, Reed says it’s important to maintain a schedule with school. 

“It’s affecting my school work because I get up late and have no energy to do anything,” Ruiz said. “I would love to get on a regular school schedule. I don’t have the motivation to unless I go to bed early to wake up around 10 a.m.”

Reed recommends getting a sleep schedule back on track by getting up at the same time every day, avoiding sleeping in and maintaining a schedule.

“This can even mean not taking a nap,” Reed said. “Napping can interfere with your ability to fall asleep at night, which can impact your sleep schedule.”

Some other tips that Reed suggests are from the Mayo Clinic, which are:

  • Pay attention to what you eat and drink
  • Create a restful environment
  • Limit daytime naps
  • Include physical activity in your daily routine
  • Stick to a sleep schedule
  • Manage your worries.

It’s important to reach out during this time if you need it. Campus offers help such as the Counseling Center (417-836-5116) and Magers Health and Wellness Center (417-836-4000).