For junior Sara Campbell, residence hall life at the University of Arizona is not sleep-friendly: constant late-night chattering, visitors coming and going, and early morning cleaning crews with loud vacuums routinely threaten her REM cycle.
Campbell aims to be asleep by 12:30 p.m. or so, astounded that the other girls on her hall regularly pull all-nighters for papers and exams.
"Not to speak bad of them, but a lot of them are freshmen and just decided to wait 'till the last minute," Campbell said.
This year, she's arranged her schedule to have classes and work start at 8 a.m. every day of the week. That will be tough but commits her to avoiding the destructive pattern trapping many college students - getting up early one day, then sleeping late the next.
"Regularity is key," Campbell said. "You can pick a schedule here and have a different time to get up every day, but going to bed at a different time every night, it wears on your body."
She isn't the only one struggling to schedule sleep into her daily student life.
"The average student is functioning with a clinical sleep disorder," said LeeAnn Hamilton, assistant director of health promotion and preventive services at the University of Arizona.
Hamilton has conducted extensive research on campus and found that students get an average of 6.5 hours per night. Her researchers also found that sleep time and quality measurements declined over the course of the academic year, while anxiety, depression and conflict with family, friends and roommates all rose.
College health officials finally are realizing that healthy sleep habits are a solution for the health and academic struggles that college students face on a regular basis.
In response, some counselors and health officials are trying to get the message out in creative ways. At tiny Hastings College in Nebraska, student peer educators plop down a bed in the middle of the student union, dress themselves in pajamas, and talk to passers-by about sleep.
The response, so far, is positive. Students readily take napping classes and ear plugs are in high demand. With just 1,200 students, Hastings orders them in bulk from a manufacturing supply company and hands out thousands, said Beth Littrell, director of campus health services.
Meanwhile, Macalester College in Minnesota publishes a "nap map" listing the pros and cons of various campus snooze sites. And many schools are offering seminars on napping. Basic lesson: the shorter the nap, the better.
Sleep-improving efforts have paid off at a number of boarding schools.
Cornell professor James Maas is a leading researcher who focuses on the relationship between sleep and performance. He's canvassing campuses with a pro-sleep message, hoping to help schools improve their sleep culture and his efforts are helping. After he spoke at Deerfield Academy in Massachusetts in 2007, the school moved the start of classes back from 7:55 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., cut sports practices and homework expectations 10 percent each, and got students back into the dorms earlier at night.
The results? Twenty percent fewer student visits to the health center, 17 percent more students taking time for a hot breakfast, and a record increase in GPA.
On many college campuses, the biggest obstacle is a deep-rooted culture of sleep deprivation machismo. For both the cool kids and the smart kids, it seems, the thing to brag about is how little sleep you get, not how much.
Rebecca Robbins, a Cornell graduate student, has researched how students talk about sleep, and found more than 80 percent of the time, it was in negative terms. "Kids in the coffee line will brag, 'I got two hours of sleep last night,' almost like it's a competition," she said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.