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Sleep sounds like something everyone is giving up when they go to college. It’s a common fact that most college students are sleep deprived. It seems that If you’re getting enough sleep, you’re doing something wrong. But are pre-health students walking hypocrites? Here’s why sleep is so important as a college student.
What happens when we sleep?
For the workaholic, it seems pointless, but quality sleep is key in weight management, muscle repair, skin rejuvenation, mood management, blood circulation and alertness in the morning, according to a Harvard study. Sleep is our daily off button. Ever have a smartphone that felt so slow and unproductive one time,so you restart it? Usually after you restart it, the phone is as good as new. And that’s pretty much how sleep works.
How much sleep do we need?
Sleep deprivation is different for everyone depending on age, but for college students, we typically need about 7 to 9 hours of sleep according to Mayo Clinic. The University of Georgia reports that students get about 6 hours of sleep a day.
What happens if we don’t get enough sleep?
If you don’t get enough sleep, you might not retain the Dif. E.Q notes as well as you could. Someone who is sleep deprived will not learn information correctly, according to Healthy Sleep. It’s hard for us to focus, judge and give adequate attention to things when we are sleep deprived. Ever studied for a test with little to no hours of sleep? Your overworked neurons won’t be firing as normally, and memory recall is challenged. Think twice about pulling that all-nighter for that test.
Studies have also linked sleep deprivation to weight gain.
The University of Chicago conducted a case study in which they assigned a case group with only 4.5 hours of sleep for four consecutive days. The next day, they were given a chance to eat whatever, and they chose the more nutrient-lacking snacks. It’s because the lack of sleep toys with the eCB (Endocannabinoid) system in your brain, which, when activated, makes you crave fat and sugary foods. The higher the eCB levels, the more unhealthy eating choices.
You immune system is also impaired when you’re sick. T-cells have been reported to go down when you’re sleep deprived, according to NIH.gov. Worried about allergy season? Trying not to catch the flu? Don’t make it hard for yourself and get more sleep.
Sleep deprivation is also like smoking: you hurt yourself and, you can hurt the people around you—and we’re not just talking about your grouchiness. Being sleep-deprived impacts your performance and alertness. So when you’re driving in your car drowsy-eyed with your foot on the gas, you’re putting lives in jeopardy. In fact, driving sleep is just as bad as driving drunk, according to Jama Internal Medicine
How do I go to bed earlier?
Turn off all electronics 30 minutes before bedtime (read a book instead).
Don’t procrastinate on your assignments.
Do some yoga.
Listen to relaxing music like Chillstep, or type in “ambient music” on Youtube.
Start off with getting one extra hour of sleep, and then gradually make your way up until you’re getting 7 to 9.
Before you prepare to procrastinate and lose sleep, think about what consequences will arise. One night of sleep deprivation won’t do much damage, but once you start marking this habitual, you’re gonna wish you sowed more seeds to reap.