Sleep does a body good

Mary-Elizabeth Russell

Is it possible to rise to the demands of college life without falling asleep? The sound of our alarm clock waking us out of dreams and dragging us from our warm beds is one that we know all too well. Our mind tries to ignore our body and its coaxing for one more hour, 10 more minutes, just 60 seconds, but the snooze button is a drug and we’re addicted.

This battle is fought every morning by thousands of college students. Partying, homework, all nighters and the Internet are the enemy of any coed’s good night’s sleep.

But students cannot ignore the signals their bodies are fighting to tell them. According to Dr. William Dement of Stanford University, each of us has a specific daily sleep requirement. On average, college students require about eight hours of sleep per night. Many students, however, see that as an unattainable goal and receive an average of five to six hours of sleep on a regular basis.

Dement says when the necessary amount of sleep is not attained, sleep debt occurs. This sleep debt continues to amass with every night of poor sleep. In contrast to popular belief, your sleep debt never goes away and does not naturally decrease.

The only way to diminish this debt is to make up for each lost hour of rest by sleeping above your daily requirement.

The problem for most young people is that a college lifestyle does not allow for healthy sleeping habits. School work increases dramatically during the mid-semester and finals weeks, and students choose to substitute sleep with coffee and Red Bull.

Late night partying keeps students from their rest, and the alcohol they consume prevents them from achieving a deep, satisfying night of sleep. Many students cope by sleeping late on the weekends, but these late mornings are not enough to diminish the sleep debt accrued during the week.

Students should make an effort to correct the sleep deprivation problem. Lack of sleep can lead to poor health and performance in classes and, even worse, sleep-related accidents. Only by surrendering to the needs of your body can you combat the dangers of sleepiness. So get some rest!