Sleep Really Matters!
College students everywhere are sleep-deprived due to an overload of activities and being over-committed. The average college students get approximately 6 – 7 hours of sleep per night. Sleep deprivation can affect important aspects of your mind and body such as your mood, energy, ability to learn, memory, judgment, and safety. Sleep really matters.
WHY is sleep important?
Sleep is important for a number of reasons. It restores energy, combats illness and fatigue by strengthening your immune system. In addition, sleep helps you to think more clearly and creatively, and will help cultivate a more positive mood and outlook throughout the day. Sleep isn’t just a passive activity and something to fill the time when we are inactive, but rather it is an active and dynamic process vital for normal motor and cognitive function.
CONSEQUENCES of sleep loss . . .
- More frequent illnesses (colds and flu)
- Feeling increased levels of stress
- Increased weight gain and obesity
- Lower GPA and academic performance
- Increased depression and anxiety
Sleep and Physical Health
Getting a lack of sleep is associated with physical and emotional health risks. Sleep deprivation can impact the immune system making it more difficult to fight off infections like the cold or flu. Your heart and lung function is also adversely impacted by the lack of sleep and is associated with worsening chronic lung and heart disease and high blood pressure. Don’t slight your sleep. Missing out on sleep can negatively impact brain function, attention span, mood, and compromise your safety.
Sleep and Mental Health
College students are often at an increased risk for developing mental health disorders such as depression and anxiety, and researchers believe that lack of sleep is a factor.
Alcohol and Sleep
Drinking alcohol can make you feel tired and sleepy because it is a central nervous system depressant. However, drinking alcohol can also contribute to sleep disturbances and interfere with the quality of your sleep. Alcohol can also intensify the effects of sleep deprivation.
This content was adapted from The University of Georgia (Health Services Center) and Go Ask Alice! of Columbia University.