To go along with my rant about our Internet usage featured in the last issue, our need for instant gratification and our dependence on our electronic devices has not only affected the intimacy of social interaction we have with others, but has also affected the quality of sleep we receive each night.
Many of us turn off our electronics and turn in for the night. But not before turning to our phones for the final glimpse of what is going on in the world before finally settling down to sleep. Many of us also use our phones as alarm clocks and keep the volume up so that we don’t miss a thing when it comes to incoming text messages, facebook notifications, or twitter updates. We feel the need to be constantly connected and our sleep often suffers.
Messing with sleep means entering dangerous territory. There are a slew of health issues that result from sleep deprivation.
Most people would define sleep deprivation as not receiving the suggested eight hours of sleep in one sitting. However, the typically suggested eight hours a night isn’t necessarily the only way we can ‘properly’ receive a good night’s rest.
As college students, we are very accustomed to only getting five to six hours of sleep a night – on a good night. The ‘I’ll sleep when I’m dead’ mantra often fresh in our minds. Whether its because of those endless all-nighters, partying a little too hard, or just flat out insomnia due to stress or having something better to do, there is always at least one night that throws the rest of the week off when it comes to our sleep schedules. Most of us nap fairly regularly. Some of us even schedule nap time in. After all, sleep is important.
Fortunately for us, our bodies have been wired to sleep in two separate cycles as opposed to just the one we have been taught to embrace. According to this idea of sleeping in two stages, the body sleeps for four hours or so, wakes up for an hour or two and then falls back to sleep for another four hours or so. Waking up in the middle of the night has been proven to be the period of time when the mind is most apt for critical thinking and reflection.
To go along with this idea, as college students, we can adopt a five to six hours of sleep pattern, catch up on sleep during nap time, and still be considered well rested. The only problem I have with this idea of nap time is not having time to nap. Our schedules get busy, and the further into the semester we get, the busier we get. I have to physically tell myself when to go to sleep by setting a bed time and sticking to it.
Hopefully, with fall break just around the corner, we are able to catch up on all the sleep we have lost. But if you aren’t receiving the eight hours of sleep you have been told you should be getting, don’t worry. Embrace nap time! You’ll be caught up before you know it!
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