Why aren’t students getting enough sleep?

With universities across the country closed, students have had to switch over to an at-home, online learning format. But for many students, learning remotely isn’t as worry-free as it sounds. Students have always been under a lot of pressure to perform academically, and it’s clear that this is causing students major stress, and in particular, having an effect on their ability to rest.

We’ve conducted the most comprehensive research into student sleep across the UK , exploring the quality of sleep for full-time UK university students. What’s clear, is that the mental health epidemic is seriously affecting students’ ability to sleep- with worrying consequences.

38% of students say that sleep problems have worsened their overall mental health

Almost one in five (19%) university students are getting less than 5 hours of sleep a night, with sleep deprivation leaving them exhausted on average 4 times a week. A huge 38% say that sleep problems have worsened their overall mental health, and more than a quarter (26%) say it has resulted in poorer grades. 

44% of students claim financial worries keep them awake at night.

With the average annual tuition costs coming in at over £9K, almost half (44%) of students claim financial worries keep them awake at night. Factors such as course workloads (42%) and worries about grades (35%) were other leading concerns we found to be bothering bedtime for students. 

19% of students are turning to alcohol to help aid sleep

With all this considered, it’s not surprising that university students are looking for their own sleep remedies, with 19% turning to alcohol to help aid sleep and 21% are practicing meditation purely as a sleep aid.

What is significant, is that over a third of students (36%) feel there is a lack of support and understanding from universities about how sleep problems can affect overall health, as well as their studies- but what can be done? 

We know how important students’ accommodation is to their overall wellbeing- including their quality of sleep and ability to rest. 

We’re always working closely with accommodation providers to offer a place to live that suits all student lifestyles. That’s why we’re proud to have introduced the UK’s first-ever accredited ‘Quieter Halls’ for students, to better provide for quieter living and a supportive environment for improving studies and sleep, as well as launching research into the UK’s Healthiest Universities which offer students the most accessible facilities for health and wellbeing.

Universities need to ensure that the impact of poor sleep is managed- particularly as students across the country find themselves living, working and studying from home. Both universities and accommodation providers should continue to develop their offerings to provide students with environments where they can flourish.