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Why bother to sleep?

Photo+by+Austin+Payton.
Photo by Austin Payton.

Photo by Austin Payton.

Photo by Austin Payton.

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It is hard to keep up healthy sleep habits when you are a college student. It is not surprising to find that only 15% of college students get enough sleep. College students are one of the most sleep-deprived populations, with approximately 73% of students at Brown University reporting some sort of sleep problem. It is easy for students to overlook the necessity of sleep when they prioritize assignments, GPAs, and socializing over their health. The effects of sleep deprivation may not show immediately, however in the long run, sleep loss can affect important aspects of your mind and body, including the ability to remember, learn, make good judgments, and react quickly. This will eventually affect how well you do in class. Ironically, losing sleep for the sake of getting a good grade may actually cause more harm than good. Therefore, achieving a balance between sleep and studying is crucial and is one of the hardest tasks assigned to college students.

Sleep is the source of all your energy. It is what helps you solve math problems, engage in discussion, participate in class, laugh with your close friends at the dinner table, and learn new languages. Getting a good night’s rest enables you to restore your energy and prepares you for the next day. When you are asleep, your brain is still actively working to solve questions that you couldn’t solve when you were awake or creating new pathways for areas such as new insights, memories, and learnings. Not only that, a good night’s rest gives you a better immune system to fend off common infections by releasing hormones. Also, sleep gives your heart a break by decreasing your heart rate and blood pressure.

Severe sleep deprivation can lead to a chronic mental health disorder that increases hormone levels that affect mood and stress levels. Have you ever had a day where you felt groggy and depressed? Wasn’t that the day when you had a bad night’s sleep the previous night? The quality of your sleep influences your ability to pay attention in class, participate in discussions, and perform well on a test.

At Oxford College, where students value academic performance, it is nearly impossible to find someone who sleeps an average of eight hours of sleep every night. Even beyond Oxford College, many people consider six hours of sleep to be adequate, and any more than that to be a waste of time. However, I can’t emphasize enough that sleep is never a waste of time. Sleep prepares you for learning and is crucial for individual development. Some may ask, then, how much sleep do we need? It depends on the individual, but eight hours of good quality sleep is enough for the average adult.

Good sleep quality does not ensure 100% success in life. However, it does guarantees 100% higher quality of life. If you are experiencing mood swings or have been zoning out recently, it is a sign that you should go to bed earlier and get more sleep.

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Why bother to sleep?