Sleep and Mental Health

Relationship Between Sleep and Mental Health in College Students

Epidemiological methods are used in a variety of public health areas (including infectious disease, chronic disease, and social health) and settings (including the community, schools, and the workplace). Epidemiological methods are used to assess, describe, analyze, and make comparisons of populations to inform evidence-based practices, policies, and interventions. Propose a study based on the methods you have learned thus far designed to investigate an association within one of the public health areas listed (infectious disease, chronic disease, or social health) and the methods you would apply. Discuss and define the risk factor or exposure that is being assessed, the method of comparison that is used, and the setting or situation (community, school, workplace, etc.) your study would look to address. Consider the concepts of causal inference, measures of association, and study design.

Relationship Between Sleep and Mental Health in College Students

Risk Factors

Sleep deprivation has been rampant among college students and undergraduates due to their social life, academics, work, and other related activities.  The results are the achievement of lower grades in academics, lack of concentration, lower levels of physical activity, and impaired learning abilities (Friedrich & Schlarb, 2018). Moreover, studies have shown a surge in the diagnosis of sleep disorders and mental conditions among the demographic. Additionally, it has also been noted that mental health conditions tend to present with sleep deprivation as one of the symptoms. It also increases the risk of relapse of the already diagnosed mental illnesses among the target population (Milojevich & Luwoski, 2017). The use of caffeine, smoking, and stimulants to increase concentration exacerbates the sleep deprivation and, ultimately, the deterioration of the mental condition of the undergraduate students.

How Sleep Affects Mental Health

Studies conducted on undergraduate students have shown that the duration and quality of sleep increase the risk of developing or exacerbating the mental conditions among the students. More so, it is a risk factor which majority of the clinicians overlook and have described previously as a symptom of a mental condition rather than a risk factor (Scott, Webb, & Rowse, 2017). A meta-analysis of studies based on the search words, which included sleep quality, duration, mental health, and sleep deprivation among college students yielded numerous works and studies which were analyzed to establish the correlation.  It was noted that there is a direct relationship between the quality and amount of sleep received with the development of psychological and emotional problems which lead to mental illnesses (Dinis & Braganca, 2018). The studies conclude that there is a need to address sleep deprivation as a risk factor to ensure the mental wellbeing of undergraduate students.


Dinis, J., & Braganca, M. (2018). Quality of sleep and depression in college students: A Systematic Review. Sleep Science, 11(4), 290-301.

Friedrich, A., & Schlarb, A. A. (2018). Let’s talk about sleep: A systematic review of psychological interventions to improve sleep in college students. Journal of Sleep Research, 27(1), 4-22.

Milojevich, H. M., & Luwoski, A. F. (2017). Sleep and mental health in undergraduate students with generally healthy sleep habits. PLoS ONE, 11(6), 1-14.

Scott, A. J., Webb, T. L., & Rowse, G. (2017). Does improving sleep lead to better mental health? A protocol for a meta-analytic review of randomized controlled trials. BMJ Open, 7(9), 1-8.