Junior speaks: Catching ZZZ’s to get some A’s

headshot_WEBThere is a problem with the idealization of the college lifestyle. I’ve overheard conversations of students near-bragging about how their schedules are so busy. About how they have to work, go to school, do homework, drive to that internship, come back and work a second job, then go to classes in the morning.

It seems like the “cool” college kids are the ones who are overworked, the ones who claim they haven’t slept in three days. They’re the ones who boast about how little sleep they get when they think micro napping in the library or on the bus to work counts as an adequate amount of sleep for the day.

The thing is that not sleeping is not cool. I don’t care how late you have to stay up in order to complete all the work you piled on yourself. Personally, I have an 18-credit course load, which includes a virtual internship, and I work maybe three hours a week. It depends how many people come in for tutoring. I am quite happy with my work-school-social life balance. And I go to bed at 11:30 p.m. every night and wake up at 8:30 a.m.

The “cool” thing about college life is time management and sleep. Your body needs time to relax. You shouldn’t be working 100 percent all the time. Not sleeping is actually really bad for your health.

When you don’t sleep, your brain doesn’t function at its top capacity. According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, when your body lacks sleep, you are less productive because you “take longer to finish tasks, have a slower reaction time and make more mistakes.” So all those things you signed yourself up for aren’t getting the full potential of your brain. Why would you want to give only half of your mind to the things you think are so important?

Sleep deprivation affects your brain. WebMD says studies have found sleep-deprived people to be “substantially worse at solving logic or math problems” compared to when they are well rested.

Jodi A. Mindell, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and author of “Sleep Deprived No More,” said in the same article, “[Sleep loss] impairs your cognition, your attention and your decision-making.” These three functions are important to learning.

I’m not the type of person who will stay up finishing assignments. I try my best with the time I have, then I go to sleep. Maybe in the morning if I still need to finish up something, I’ll continue it after breakfast. I have no problem admitting I didn’t complete an assignment. I value my health over a grade. And I have good grades, meaning above a C.

I believe there is a way to take care of yourself while taking care of your responsibilities. I understand some of you have to work your way through college in order to pay for it. But please, put your health in a higher spot on your priority list. Make sure you attempt to get eight hours of sleep. They have been yelling at us since high school about this, and now we finally can create our own schedules. Having an early class is no excuse. If you have an 8 a.m. class, then you should be going to bed at 11 p.m. or sooner.

Your body needs to go into a deep sleep in order to repair itself and build memories. Those notes that aren’t sticking with you probably would if you had enough sleep.

Sleep is important. There is no badge of honor for who can become the most sleep deprived and dysfunctional. So turn out your lights and go to sleep.

—Rena Carman

Junior communication studies major


Printed in the 04/06/16 issue.

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