If you don’t snooze … you lose

Sleeping is one of the essential necessities your body needs in order to properly function. With mounds of tests, assignments, and material to study, sleep is one of the last things in students minds to do. (Photo Illustration by Cassandra Nguyen | The Collegian)

With a constant stream of assignments and projects due, accompanied by studying for numerous quizzes and exams, sleep can be the last thing on a student’s mind.

Research published on Healthresearchfunding.org about sleep habits and patterns in college students concluded that many students suffer from some form of sleep turbulence and 73 percent of students indicated at least occasional sleeping problems.

“Sleep is good, and (getting) no sleep is bad,” Julie Gibbs, director of health promotion at Lafene Health Center, said. “We all know this, but do we really understand all of the impacts of sleep? Adults should be getting seven to nine hours of quality or uninterrupted sleep every night.”

Benefits of sleep

Though sleep may not seem all that important, it can have a large impact on the way your body functions from the moment you wake up.

“Sleep leads to more productivity, higher energy levels and a better mood,” Gibbs said. “Lack of sleep has huge impacts on work and studies, because we are not as stimulated and lack of sleep makes it hard to remember things.”

That being said, pulling all-nighters to cram for a test may not be the best idea.

“When I don’t get much sleep, I feel sluggish the next day,” Logan Britton, senior in agricultural economics and journalism, said. “It’s harder for me to get out of bed and get into my daily rhythm.”

Long-term problems

Not only does lack of sleep affect your body the next day, but it can have long-term impacts such as increase in weight.

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, laboratory research has found that lack of sleep results in metabolic changes that may be linked to obesity. In addition, according to Web MD, lack of sleep can be related to an increase in hunger and appetite, and possibly obesity.

“Chronic lack of sleep or sleep disorders can lead to overweight or obesity because of the effect on our hormones,” Gibbs said. “Chronic sleep disorders have been shown to increase our risk of vehicle accidents as well, or sleepiness at the wheel.”

Sleep disorders have been linked to many chronic diseases, such as heart disease and diabetes. According to CDC, research has found that insufficient sleep is linked to an increased risk for the development of type 2 diabetes.

Catching up on sleep

Some people may have trouble falling or staying asleep at night, leading to an unintentional lack of sleep. Changing certain actions can help you fall asleep easier.

“Reduce the noise or turn on some white noise; make sure the room is cool; turn off all lights and try to turn off your TV, cell phone or laptop one hour before you go to bed,” Gibbs said. “This gives your body and mind some time to relax.”

Slightly altering your schedule and lifestyle may also have a positive impact on getting more sleep.

“According to the Mayo Clinic, some ways to get more sleep are to stick to a sleep schedule – even on the weekends; watch what you eat and drink – no high-fat meals, caffeine or alcohol before bedtime; reducing noise and light as much as possible and trying to make your environment as comfortable as possible,” Gibbs said. “This may mean switching out your pillows or mattress, or it may be as simple as turning on a fan.”

So next time you think about pulling an all-nighter to cram for a test or going to Aggieville when you have an 8 a.m. class the next day, you may want to reconsider and crawl into bed to get a healthy amount of sleep.