As students we put off sleep to do the million-and-one things calling our names, but sleep is dragging us by the ankles
By: Emily Nickles, Page Editor
College students tend to have more than one bad habit while in school. Some of it might have to do with the lack of constant badgering from parents, or maybe because most brains haven’t fully developed yet. Either way, one thing is for sure: college students are notorious for their horrific sleeping schedules.
As a student, I find myself pulling at least one all-nighter a week amidst an erratic sleeping schedule that includes napping at weird hours and being up at 3 a.m. On behalf of my own health and other students’ out there, I did some research on the importance of sleep. The following is a list of five reasons why students should carefully schedule their everyday activities around sleep to prevent worse damage from occurring.
1. Keep your bod’ healthy
You heard it folks. Straight from the mouth of WebMD, lack of sleep or any interruption to regular sleep schedules can increase risk of developing heart disease, diabetes and obesity. So if you want your body to maintain normal levels of blood sugar, sleeping is the best prevention. The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute affirms these findings, but with an extra tidbit: sleeping helps you grow. In young children and teens, the hormone that stimulates growth within the body is released when people are sleeping.
2. Prevent injury to oneself
For those of us who are naturally klutzy, lack of sleep intensifies our inclination towards untimely accidents. If you aren’t klutzy, you are stepping inches closer to the dark side. On a serious note, according to the National Sleep Foundation in a study conducted in 2005, nearly 1 in 3 people polled admitted to falling asleep at the wheel and almost 100,000 car crashes are reported to be caused by sleep deprivation. College students are especially at risk for these kinds of accidents. Clarity and vision become impaired without sleep; without those functions people put their lives at risk.
3. A factor of maintaining weight
According to WebMD, when you don’t get enough sleep, the hormone luptin, which allows the brain to signal to your body that you are full after eating, drops. So the more tired you are, the more you crave food in general, especially those high in fats and sugars.
Memory, my dears, is all we have of the past. It turns out if you sleep regularly, the brain is able to consolidate the memories and things that happen throughout the day. WebMD cites a study that proves that if you actually get a decent amount of sleep you are able to remember things correctly and not make up stories about your dog eating the homework.
4. Moody, moody, moody
Everyone has at one point been grumpy, and many times people use the excuse of sleep deprivation to sashay our foul mood away. This assertion may actually be truthful in the sense that lack of sleep prevents the brain from absorbing information of the day before and prepare for learning in the next. According to the NHLBI, studies show that sleeping improves learning and creativity. Sleep deficiency cause issues with problem solving, decision making, and regulating behaviors to appropriate outlets.
On average, according to the NHLBI, the typical American adult needs seven to eight hours of sleep a day. Any less than a normal sleep routine causes the whole body chemistry to shift. If a doctor were to monitor you for several days like this, it is expected that they will see blood sugar levels increase and good hormones decreasing.
Contrary to the common myth that humans do nothing in our sleep, the body works harder to repair damage from the day and prepare to protect in the next. Sleep is survival.