The importance of sleep

As finals week is quickly approaching here at West Chester, one of the biggest issues students have around this time is not getting enough sleep. The big contributors being that many students become stressed and pull all-nighters to study and/or to complete papers and projects. While it is good to get your work  done and study, it can be harmful if you do not get enough sleep. According to the Better Sleep Council, sleep allows your brain to recharge, for cells to repair themselves and allows your body to release important hormones. And for most college-aged students, they should receive about eight hours of sleep to have a full night’s rest. If someone does not get enough sleep, this lowers their immune system, increases irritability, increases fatigue that can affect driving or other coordinated activities, increases weight gain and decrease quality of mental health. Lack of sleep can impair learning, memory, judgment, reasoning and because of that, contribute to a lower GPA.

On the other side of the coin, it’s also bad to over sleep; by sleeping too much, you risk similar consequences. According to Johns Hopkins Medicine, oversleeping is associated with type 2 diabetes, heart disease, obesity, depression, headaches, irritability and sluggishness throughout the day. However napping is not a bad thing, if naps are about 10 to 30 minutes earlier in the day, they can be helpful.

To improve sleep a helpful way, icreate a nightly routine that is repeatable and stick to it. One tip is to have the bedroom be cool, quiet, comfortable, dark and distraction-free from phones, computers and other technology as the light emitting from the screens can suppress the production of melatonin when using them for hours.

Another part of a routine can be exercising regularly and working out about two hours before bedtime so your body can have time to relax. Related to that, eating a big meal or drinking too many liquids around the time you go to bed can keep you awake longer. You can keep a sleep log so you can track the time you go to bed and when you wake up. This way, you can figure out what works best for your sleep and make the changes needed to improve it.

During finals week, the best way to prepare yourself for exams is to study and get work done during the day. That way your body can be well-rested and ready to take on the end of the semester.

Sean Laughlin is a third-year student majoring in communication studies.

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