Papers, projects and procrastination interfere with sleep

By Laura Hutton, News Co-Editor

Whether they are working on homework or procrastinating on Facebook, many students stay awake late into the wee hours of the morning. However, this cuts into vital hours of sleep that are important to the health of students.

“Studies suggest that adults who sleep seven to eight hours a night are the healthiest,” reported Jane Brody of the New York Times on October 23. “About a third fall into that range. More than a third sleep less than seven hours, and nearly a third sleep more than eight hours.”

Students that fall into the category of sleeping less than suggested can experience a multitude of side effects. Aside from fatigue the following morning, not getting enough sleep can lead to heart disease, diabetes, obesity, lower grades, depression, mood swings, and poor concentration according to the New York Times.

For many students, lack of sleep is a choice they make. However, sleep disorders like insomnia, are a common cause of sleep deprivation.

Forced sleep deprivation has been used as a torture device. In the book Stasiland, Anna Funder illustrated methods used by the Stasi, the secret police in East Germany beginning in the 1950s. While being interrogated, a main character of the book was not permitted to sleep. She had to stay awake until two hours before and two hours after her interrogations when a brief sleep was permitted, followed by intense questioning.

Funder wrote how, “sleep deprivation can mimic the symptoms of starvation, particularly in children—victims become disoriented and cold. They lose their sense of time, becoming locked in an interminable present. Sleep deprivation also causes a number of neurological dysfunctions, which become more extreme the longer it continues. In the end, your waking hours take on the logic of a dream, where odd things are connected, and you are just angry, angry, angry with the world that will not let you rest.”

Sleep deprivation in the extreme or even falling short of the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep each night is destructive to the body. It would be beneficial for more people to pay attention to their sleep patterns and make the necessary improvements.

The New York Times explained, “Surveys have shown that few of us past infancy and toddlerhood are receiving the amount of sleep our bodies and brains need to restore them to full function for the day ahead. And many of us—children, teenagers and adults of all ages—may pay a hefty price.”