Sleep vs. College
by wburg1 on November 17, 2014 - 8:48pm
When it comes to college, sleep is one of those things a student can’t ever seem to get enough of. Whether it’s pulling an all-nighter studying or an all-nighter partying, messing with your sleep schedule and your quality of sleep can drastically affect your learning potential. Sleep isn’t just important for school, it is also important for your health.
Sleep is easy to do when you have the time, but for some people time is of the essence. So how do you make up for this lack of sleep? You make time. When you get a healthy amount of sleep, you dramatically reduce your chances of stress, motor vehicle accidents, and can improve happiness. These are very important things that can make or break your academic success. Stress makes it difficult to get anything done and can even make it difficult to fall asleep. Now, not only are you losing sleep because of stress, but now you are getting even less sleep which just leads to a never ending cycle of sleeplessness.
One of the big factors contributing to a lack of sleep is partying. Alcohol dramatically reduces REM sleep, which is a stage in your sleep cycle that is directly related to how rested you feel upon awakening. One study that involved rats saw them die after a few weeks of no REM sleep. This is crucial for feeling awake during school and maximizing your learning.
The biggest thing sleep does is it creates a difficulty for us to focus. This is where it hurts students the most. When we are sleep deprived, over-worked neurons can’t access previously learned information as easily and this leads to forgetting things. There is a difference between going to class to learn and just going to class to be there. If you aren’t retaining the information then what is the point of being there in the first place. Focusing in class can be the difference between how much you need to study as well. If you are learning half of the things you need to know for your tests while you are in class, this means you have fewer things you need to study. Now that you have fewer things to study, you can turn that study time into sleeping time.
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Roehrs, T., and Roth, T. Alcohol-induced sleepiness and memory function. Alcohol Health Res World 19(2):130-135, 1995.