Study: Students need more sleep

Photo by Pamela Harris

By Kaylin Kennedy

According to improveyoursleep.com, about 70 million people in the nation have trouble sleeping.

With work and school, about 60 percent of college students are sleep deprived, and about 30 percent of them fall asleep in class at least once a week.

While the recommended amount of sleep is six to eight hours, psychology instructor Elizabeth Rodriguez said it varies from person to person.

“It’s such an individual thing,” Rodriguez said.

Each individual has a unique Circadian rhythm, or how the body reacts physically, mentally and behaviorally throughout the day. Carlos Najera, an animation major, is a full-time student who also works two jobs.

Najera said he gets around five to four hours of sleep but that it doesn’t affect his grades. Najera’s body has adapted his lifestyle.

“It’s just something I’m accustomed to,” he said.

Sleep deprivation can lead to depression, memory problems, a weakened immune system and increased pain.

According to healthysleep.med.harvard.edu, many of the major restorative functions in the body such as muscle growth, tissue repair and protein synthesis, occur mostly, or in some cases only, during sleep.

Better sleep also can lead to better eating habits. According to a story in the journal Sleep, even teens who average fewer than eight hours of sleep on weeknights tend to eat more fatty foods and high-calorie snacks than those who are well rested.

“Research shows that people who get the recommended eight hours of sleep tend to have healthier eating habits,” Rodriguez said.

“We don’t really know why we sleep,” she said. “But we know that without it, we could not function properly both physically and mentally.”

A study reported at Webmd.com found that Sleep-deprived people who are tested by using a driving simulator or by performing a hand-eye coordination task perform as badly as or worse than those who are intoxicated.

The website also notes that reducing sleep by just 1½ hours for just one night could result in a reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32 percent.

 

Published: Wednesday, November 03, 2011

 

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