Lack of Sleep Ruins Your Life

Anne Berg, Features Editor

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     Let’s talk about sleep. As college students we all know how easy it is to skimp on sleep in order to get our work done or to have a little more fun. And what’s the harm if we still do everything we need to do?

     Holly Janze, a senior at Bloomsburg University asks, “Why do we need sleep? I could get so much done if I didn’t need sleep”. It’s true that if we didn’t need to carve seven to nine hours out of every day for sleep that we would have so much more time for homework. Meaning we could have fun all day long and do homework during the night. But let’s face it, we all enjoy sleep. It’s relaxing, but it just always seems to get in the way of our to do list.

      Of course we all realize that sleep is important for everyday functioning, but do we really know the consequences of us skipping an hour or two here and twelve there? Because the truth is, lack of sleep affects our attitude, memory, immune system, and overall health. And these are all things that are important for having a good college experience.

      No one wants to hang around with someone who is moody all of the time.  But that is exactly what lack of sleep can result in. HealthLine says,  “Sleep deprivation makes you moody, emotional, and quick tempered. Chronic sleep deprivation can affect your mood and lead to anxiety or depression”. So not only can lack of sleep cause some mood swings once in a while, but also it can lead too much more serious issues which could affect every aspect of your life.

      Losing sleep does not only affect our moods, it also affects the way our brains work. Alex Ogden, a senior at BU, says, “Not getting enough sleep stunts my productivity and makes it impossible to focus during the day”. And really what is the point of going to class if you can’t even focus on the subject matter?

      WebMD seconds this, saying, “Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways. First, it impairs attention, alertness, concentration, reasoning, and problem solving. This makes it more difficult to learn efficiently…If you don’t get enough sleep, you won’t be able to remember what you learned and experienced during the day.” So no matter how hard you study, you may still fail that test just because you skipped out on sleep.

      Along with affecting productivity and memory, lack of sleep also affects our immune systems. HealthLine says, “Sleep deprivation prevents your immune system from building up its forces. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body may not be able to fend off invaders. It may also take you longer to recover from illness. Long-term sleep deprivation also increases your risk for chronic illnesses like diabetes and heart disease”.

      Our immune systems are such an important part of success to our college careers. Being sick all of the time is not cool for our social lives, but it is even worse for our grades. When you’re sick the last thing you want to do is go to class. And it really is the last thing you should do. You won’t be able to concentrate and you aren’t allowing your system to recover. But no one wants to miss multiple classes in a row, especially when your professor is a stickler for attendance.

      And besides our immune systems, lack of sleep also has a very big effect on our physical health. Valerie Musse, a graduate student at BU, believes that “lack of sleep obviously impacts your energy levels and that in turn affects your diet. So if you’re tired you’re more likely to reach for a coffee, energy drink, or quick snack rather than a satisfying meal”. If you can’t get energy from sleep you might as well get it from extra calories.

      HealthLine backs this up, saying, “Sleep affects the levels of two hormones, leptin and ghrelin, which control feelings of hunger and fullness. Leptin tells your brain that you’ve had enough to eat. Without enough sleep, your brain reduces leptin and raises ghrelin, which is an appetite stimulant. The flux of these hormones could explain nighttime snacking or why someone may overeat later in night. A lack of sleep can also contribute to weight gain by making you feel too tired to exercise.” So you’re not only reaching for those high calorie foods to keep up your energy, but there is no way you’re going to the gym until you catch up on your sleep.

     As college students it is sometimes necessary to cut certain things out in order to meet our goals. But from now on we should all realize that sleep is not one of those things. So next time you are running short on time and you are thinking about nixing sleep, just don’t, it’ll be better for you in the long run! So now that we all realize just how important it is to catch those z’s on a daily basis, make sure to catch up over Spring Break! And start the second half of the semester off with a bang!