Sleeping is an essential part of daily life, especially for college students. Rest promotes our growth process and refreshes us if we get enough. However, college students don’t get to experience that type of sleep too often. We have to stay awake throughout the night to work on a five-page paper due the following morning, or we choose to stay up all night having a good time with friends. Forcing ourselves to stay awake is easy for some, yet hard for others, so how do people do it?
The common answer to that question is caffeine, but that doesn’t make it the correct answer. It may keep us up when we want it to, but that surge of energy is only temporary.
We have no control over how our bodies may react to caffeine. You may be alert one minute, but then crash once it wears off.
Once the body becomes dependent on caffeine, it won’t know how to react when we haven’t had that cup of coffee or that bottle of soda. After consistently filling our bodies with caffeine, a lack of that dosage can cause unpleasant results.
According to an article on livestrong.com, “Too much caffeine also affects your ability to sleep, causing restlessness, insomnia and sleep loss,” Lily Medina wrote.
“If you stop habitual caffeine consumption, you may experience withdrawal symptoms, which can include headaches, tiredness, irritability, nausea and vomiting,” Medina said.
All of these side effects can cause students to have a hard time focusing throughout their day and can affect their academic performance.
The role caffeine plays in sleep deprivation can result in a declining GPA. A recent 2017 study conducted by
the Best Mattress Brand shows that students who get more sleep throughout the night tend to have higher GPAs in college. This study shows that students who get five hours of sleep or less have an average GPA of 3.31. It goes on to say that students who sleep between five and six hours have an average GPA of 3.38, which is tied with those who get between six and seven hours of sleep. Those who rest between seven and eight hours a night have an average of 3.44, followed by those who achieve a full eight hours and have a GPA of 3.48.
This study also explored a correlation between GPA and students’ daily coffee intake. Those who do not drink coffee have an average of 3.43, one cup daily results in about a 3.41, two cups end with a 3.39, three and four cups daily have the same GPA of about a 3.38, and a 3.28 for those who have five cups or more. This illustrates how negatively caffeine affects the lives of college students.
During such a critical time in our lives, we should all focus a little more on taking care of our bodies, getting good grades and getting enough rest.
Junior communication studies major
Published in the 9/27/17 issue.