A bad night's sleep on campus: An interview study of first year university students with poor sleep quality

Foulkes, L; McMillan, D and Gregory, Alice M.. 2019. A bad night's sleep on campus: An interview study of first year university students with poor sleep quality. Sleep Health: Journal of the National Sleep Foundation, 5(3), pp. 280-287. ISSN 2352-7226 [Article]

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Abstract or Description

Poor sleep quality is common in university students and increases the risk of mental illness and poor academic attainment. It is therefore critical to understand what may cause or aggravate poor sleep in students. First-year students living on campus are particularly worthy of attention due to their distinctive sleeping circumstances: they are adapting to a new lifestyle, sleep in close proximity to new peers, and experience environmental noise and academic stress.

Fifteen first-year undergraduates with poor sleep quality completed in-depth interviews in which they were asked about aspects of university life that might contribute to their poor sleep quality.

Four main themes were constructed from the data using thematic analysis: the social context of noise problems; the lure of socializing with peers; the cost of having an unstructured academic lifestyle; and the wide-reaching impact of poor sleep quality on university life. Flatmates and friends were central to poor sleep quality on campus because they caused excessive noise and provided an easy opportunity to socialize late into the night. Academic factors, including students working late at night and spending all day in their bedrooms, were also key.

Fundamental aspects of moving to university, including living with peers and adapting to a new academic schedule, may increase the risk of students' poor sleep quality. When designing interventions to minimize the risk of poor sleep quality in first-year students, unique aspects of the campus environment, including the close proximity to new peers, must be addressed.

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University, College, Students, Sleep quality, Student wellbeing, Campus

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7 January 2019Accepted
1 March 2019Published Online
June 2019Published

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Date Deposited:

17 Jan 2019 12:53

Last Modified:

29 Apr 2020 17:08

Peer Reviewed:

Yes, this version has been peer-reviewed.



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