The Power of Sleep

Sleep deprivation. To student and many others, getting the recommend amount of sleep every night is nearly impossible. Life often gets in the way, and as everyone knows, there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. If you haven’t done so before, think about what cutting out sleep does to your body.

Often as students, we are required to maintain lifestyles that limit the amount of sleep we can get. Class, work and social agendas fill our schedule, and by the time all school work is completed there are only a few short hours left to rest. We live in a “Go! Go! Go!” society, but we need to stop, take a minute and re-evaluate our needs.

According to WebMD, teens require about nine hours of sleep, while most adults need seven to eight hours every night. Those amounts change, however, based on the amount of sleep acquired on previous nights. Believe it or not, sleep debt is really – and it is causing problems every day.

When your body is deprived of sleep, it requires those hours be made up. Continuous sleep deprivation can lead to memory problems, a weakened immune system, decreased academic performance, car accidents caused by fatigue, obesity, diabetes and even depression. College students are twice as likely to get depression as the general population; a fact many researchers believe is due to sleep deprivation. According to Taking Charge: Your Education, Your Career, Your Life the University of Michigan Health Service says all of this can result from consistently getting less than 6.5 hours of sleep a night.

Some sleeping tips listed in Taking Charge include maintaining a regular sleep schedule, sleeping with the thermostat low, avoiding caffeine and alcohol in the evening, skipping naps and stopping the consumption of food and liquids within two hours of bedtime.

Sleep is crucial to our health and happiness. Don’t let yourself get behind on sleep. Schedule your day to be the most productive it can be, leaving ample time for sleep. It is difficult mid-semester to reset a sleep schedule, so start now.

There is no better time than the present to form healthy habits.