Sleep Debt Hurts College Students

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And just like that, my life flashed before my eyes, was it really time to die, was it worth staying up to read the news feed, or catch the latest drama? It's horrible how we choose to stay up, rather than get our sleep, and finish our task when we awaken. We need to learn, In order to function properly as an individual, we need to get sufficient sleep on a night-to-night basis. According to Dr. Lawrence Epstein in his article “Improving Sleep”, “Sleep problems affect virtually every aspect of day-to-day living”. Every time we don’t get the recommended number of hours needed, our body begins to accumulate what William Dement calls a “sleep debt” and, just like a loan, the larger the debt, the harder it is to pay off. In the article “Sleep…show more content…
We try to fit everything into one day and then work into the night to accomplish the impossible. According to “How Sleep Debt Hurts College Students”, by June J. Pilcher and Amy S. Walters, “College students are not aware of the extent to which sleep deprivation impairs their ability to complete cognitive tasks…”. Even if we get only a few hours of sleep, we college students use a variety of methods to try and beat Mr. Sandman. From coffee to energy drinks to pinching ourselves, there are many ways we try and cram as much as possible into a 24-hour period. One question I have come across in my years as a student isn’t the how we say awake, but the why we stay awake. “Voluntary sleep deprivation is a common occurrence for many college students…”. When you’re in college or even high school, getting good grades matter. In order to achieve that goal of straight A’s we students have convinced ourselves that the more we can stuff into our brains, the better we’ll do on the test. However stuffing information into your brain takes time, which is taken up by being in school and other activities. By staying up late studying, we compensate for those lost hours and get a leg up on the students who didn’t stay up. Or so we think… In a study done by Pilcher and Walters, 44 college students were placed into either a sleep deprived, or non-sleep deprived group and allowed to sleep and wake up at certain time during the three-day experiment. After the three days were up, each group took a series of tests and questionnaires. When asked how they thought they did, the sleep deprived group reported to have had a higher level of concentration and an increased level of effort. In reality the sleep deprived group performed worse than the non-sleep deprived group and there was a noticeable increase of fatigue and confusion. So in reality, staying up late cramming doesn’t help but actually hurts our academic success.
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