Objectives: To examine how health behaviors and outcomes differ based on restful nights of sleep among college students. Design: This is a cross-sectional study. Setting: The study was conducted in a large, northeastern United States university. Participants: The participants include college students (n = 4376), the majority of whom were women (59.2%) and non-Hispanic white (76.1%). Measurements: Students completed an online survey, self-reporting sex, height, weight, cumulative grade point average (GPA), physical activity (PA), fruit and vegetable consumption (FVC), substance use, and depressive symptoms, along with nights of restful sleep. Participants were grouped into those who had frequent (≥4 nights/week) or infrequent (<4 nights/week) nights of restful sleep. Analyses included independent sample t-tests, chi-square tests for independence, and logistic regression analyses to compute odds ratios. Results: Parametric analyses indicated a significant, although unmeaningful, association between frequent restful sleep and PA and GPA, but not body mass index or FVC. Nonparametric analyses indicated a positive association between frequent restful sleep and the absence of depressive symptoms. Odds ratios revealed a positive association between the absence of depressive symptoms and GPA with frequent restful sleep. Conclusions: Findings indicate that restful sleep is associated with the absence of depressive symptoms and higher GPA among college students. Further research is required to examine the relationship, particularly directionality, between the amount of sleep and health behaviors and outcomes. Future researchers should consider using better measures of mental health, dietary quality, and objective measures of sleep and PA were possible. College administrators and health professionals should consider ways in which they can educate students about the benefits of sleep to mental health and academic performance.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Behavioral Neuroscience