Here we are, slowly creeping into mid-December and that only means one thing: finals week. Sleep is probably the first or last thing on your mind right now. If sleep is not one of your priorities, hopefully by the end of this article it’ll move up a level or two in importance.
- The Facts
Today, about 75% of people experience some type of sleep issue a few times a week, and about 50-70 million Americans have a sleep or wakefulness disorder. With this fast-paced, money-making, work-obsessed, change-achieving culture, America is reaching for perfectionism, ignoring the personal stakes that may entail. Lack of sleep is causing unintentional accidents on the road, chronic diseases like hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as cancer, and a reduced level of productivity. When I asked a “4.0” or A+ friend what she thinks of sleep, she laughed and noted that most of the time, there’s simply not enough time for it. Is sleep really that underappreciated? Studies suggest that school aged children need about 10 hours of sleep; teens need 9-10 hours, while adults need 7-8 hours. In a survey, only 30% of adults reported getting over six hours of sleep while only 31% of teens reported getting at least eight hours of sleep.
- Memory Booster
Receiving the adequate amount of sleep actually helps you remember things after learning a new task. However, it seems as though students are actually skipping out on sleep in order to cram and essentially, remember more information. Next time you cram for your Bio exam, try studying all day, sleeping all night, and rising early the following morning to review – you may have much better results!
- Weight Gain
Oh no… college students, the freshman 15 was real. We all know firsthand that this is no myth. And here I am, as a sophomore, trying to shed those painful memories away with the help of my fabulous treadmill. Lack of sleep causes those numbers on the scale to increase. “Chronic sleep deprivation may cause weight gain by affecting the way our bodies process and store carbohydrates, and by altering levels of hormones that affect our appetite” says The Harvard Women’s Health Watch. It’s true! Think about it, how many times do you end up grabbing that bag of potato chips when writing that essay at 3:00 a.m., or how often you order delivery because there’s no time or your cravings are at an all-time high? Sleeping not only cuts off all chances of cravings, but it also promotes proper metabolism function.
- Morning Crankiness
Sleep deficiency causes irritability, impatience, inability to concentrate, and the ultimate case of moodiness. Notice that when you have slept plenty, you wake up happy, content, and almost excited to conquer your day. On the other hand, waking up to a firetruck alarm clock when it seems like you haven’t slept enough, makes you want to curl back into a ball sandwiched between those cozy sheets. In fact, this may leave you only doing the things you need to do as opposed to the things you need and want to do simply because you are just too tired to do them. Get the sleep you need and feel ready to seize your youth!
- Health Risks
There are many types of health risks associated with lack of sleep including cardiovascular problems like hypertension, increased stress hormone levels, and even an irregular heartbeat. In addition, skipping out on those hours can alter your body’s immune function which can, in turn, modify the body’s natural killer cells. This can call for a more vulnerable body making you more susceptible to infection and sickness. Enough sleep has also been linked with cancer prevention.
Living by that “YOLO” motto can definitely have its pros, but just remember that ignoring sleeping needs can put your psychological, emotional, and physical health at risk and maybe working on time management can help you receive the adequate amount of it. It is important that you put sleep on your list of daily priorities until you find it utterly “unthinkable” to miss out on it. “I’ll sleep when I’m dead,” you may think, but think again, my friends! Skipping out on sleep may just stop you from doing the things you love and need to do in life!
Image: Tandem Properties