Sleeping your way to wellness

Students are learning a lot during the day with classes, group projects, and homework, but they’re learning what happens at night is important too.

Marcia Sisk talking with studentsThe Cornell Well-being Network held a sleep lab on Jan. 18, with tables set up on the Orange Carpet to give Cornellians a few more ideas on how to get some quality shut-eye.

“Sleep is one of the most important elements to wellness,” said Health Promotions Director Marcia Sisk. “Cornell students and students across the nation are sleep deprived.”

That’s exactly what the Cornell Well-Being Network is working to change. The event had students, like Sydney Swift ’22, dreaming of more sleep.

“I get a decent amount, but more would be great,” she said.

From aromatherapy sachets to learning about an age-old breathing practice called Moon Breathing, students gathered a lot of information.

“I got some pamphlets on the yoga moves and deep breathing you can do before you go to sleep, and I also learned more about the foods you should eat. There are certain foods that help you go to bed, which is surprising. It’s really useful,” Swift said. Healthy snacks

The National Sleep Foundation recommends young adults 18–25 years of age get 7–9 hours of sleep each night.

“Sleep is important to all of us,” Sisk said. “Our health depends on it. I like to say it’s not just about beauty! Body repair and restoration happen when we sleep. According to the American Academy of Sleep Medicine, sleep allows the brain to store the information we need, and get rid of what we don’t need. Sleep deprivation challenges the brain’s ability to store information leading to poor academic performance.”

Sisk says if students feel like napping during the day, they should nap in the early afternoon and only rest for twenty to thirty minutes.

The National Sleep Foundation also recommends that everyone should practice good sleep hygiene, including going to bed at the same time every night, limiting caffeine close to bedtime, exercising daily but not close to bedtime, and avoiding heavy meals before bedtime.

They’re all tips that will lead to a restful night’s sleep, and learning how to get more sleep will lead to happier, healthier times when students are awake. For more information, contact the Well-Being Network’s Marcia Sisk at