Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Serving the campus of the University of Alabama since 1894

The Crimson White

Go sleep on it

As college students, we are all too familiar with running off only a few treasured hours of sleep. With a busy fall semester ahead, sleep seems more like a joke than a reality. No one has time for the recommended seven to nine hours of siesta. There are more important things to accomplish, such as studying or, in my case, procrastinating.

Naps will suffice after classes, but they pale in comparison to a full eight to 10 consecutive hours of sleep. Whether a lack of sleep is due to studying, sleeping disorders, random activities to delay the inevitable chore called studying, or (my personal favorite) a night of good old-fashioned rendezvousing on the Strip, college students are the most prevalent group of people who suffer from sleep deprivation.

What many of us don’t realize is the importance of sleep and the effects of obtaining less than seven hours of it. Yes, we all look like zombies straight out of “Dawn of the Dead” walking across the Quad on our way to class in the mornings, clutching our Starbucks coffees for dear life, but is it really normal, or even healthy for that matter, to run on little sleep?


Lack of adequate rest can inhibit brain productivity.


            College students, having to learn and all, need that doctor recommended seven to nine hours of sleep. Research conducted by the University of Cincinnati reported that students who didn’t receive the necessary amounts of slumber performed poorly and had difficulties maintaining focus in the classroom.

Sleep gives your brain a chance to restore itself and save memories. Ever been told to read over your notes and then get a good night’s rest before an exam? There is some logic behind such a ludicrous idea. (Who actually goes to bed early the day before an exam instead of pulling an all-night junk food-ridden, caffeine-sodden cram session?)

A study on REM (rapid eye movement) sleep at the University of Bamberg demonstrates the importance of sleep in memorization. Those in the study who received a sufficient quantity of sleep possessed the ability to recall information more readily than those who did not, especially texts exemplifying emotion.

Another saying when it comes to making a decision, “Go sleep on it” has some truth to it as well. Decision-making seems more effective when done on a good night’s rest, as was concluded in a REM Sleep and Learning study led by Dr. Robert Stickgold at Harvard Medical School. What if you don’t get enough sleep one night? Simply take a nap. In a Napping Study, a twenty-minute nap proved to serve as a reboot button for the brain, increasing work and mental efficiency.


Sleep deprivation is associated with obesity.


            I don’t know about you, but when I stay up late, I become tempted by the sugary and fattening sirens of my candy drawer, beckoning for me at two in the morning to raid it and enlarge my derriere (yes, I have a special drawer in my house designated for all things sweet and holy—no judgment please and thank you).

The behavior previously described, in which I partake regularly, can lead to a consistent weight gain. By squandering time better spent sleeping, the body is not given the opportunity to recuperate and recover from the day’s activities. Depriving oneself of sleep can also lead to the development of diabetes, the disease which is, in some cases, correlated to obesity.


Little sleep increases the risk of heart disease and stroke.


According to a study published in the European Heart Journal, those of us who partake in six or less hours of sleep regularly are 48 percent more likely to develop heart disease with a 15 percent chance of having a stroke. The hormones generated after a few sleepless nights can result in high cholesterol and blood pressure.


Aggression results from diminutive amounts of snooze.


            Everyone has been there at some point, where you don’t get enough sleep and you can’t help but snap at anyone who crosses your path. A lack of sleep can leave even the nicest of people agitated and moody. Careful who you mess with, you never know if they acquired the necessary amount of sleep the night before.

Indeed, finding time for repose when there’s a long to-do list running through your head is difficult, but keep in mind the significance of what a good night’s sleep can do for you. Do yourself a favor before that huge exam, before your next big decision or at least for all the innocent people you may encounter that day: go get at least eight hours of z’s.

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