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Friday, May 7, 2021

Consider this your wake-up call

It’s time to start prioritizing our sleep debt

By Makenna Marks

Hold on. You’re telling me we are supposed to get a full eight hours of sleep, crush our classes, deliver for Instacart or DoorDash to make rent, exercise off of YouTube, eat three meals a day and maintain a social (but distant) life all in 24 hours? Even before we faced the added stress of handwashing and fear of the post-graduation economy, college students have been chasing those blissful eight hours of sleep for years. 

Some nights we are lucky even to get half of that. Obviously, this is a problem. It’s not good for our bodies, our minds or our grades. We need to start prioritizing our sleep. 

According to  research  published in College Student Journal, there is a direct correlation between our sleep quality and our health. The research found that college students who get poor sleep are prone to a number of undesirable outcomes. For example: “Diminished sleep quality has been associated with anxiety, depression, and stress,” Vail-Smith wrote.

Sierra Green, a first-year design student at Western, said getting good, quality sleep is a struggle. On a night before a final, for example, she only gets four hours of sleep. 

Savannah Abel, a first-year psychology student at Western, said that she sometimes still feels tired after getting more than eight hours of sleep. 

But sleeping too much is also rough: It turns out there’s a reason for feeling groggy after getting 10 or more hours of sleep. It’s called “sleep debt.”

Even when we finally get a day to catch up on our sleep, we are still going to wake up feeling tired and overworked. 

When people in sleep debt are finally able to catch up on the “sleep that you’ve been lacking…your body’s just like, ‘I don’t know what to do,’” Abel said.

This is exactly why we need to do our best to try and keep our “sleep debt” paid off and to a minimum.

Amanda Nath, a second-year student at Western studying dance, has been doing her best to make sure she gets enough sleep.“Now that I’m in college, I have made a huge effort to make sleep a priority,” Nath said.

Nath also said she tries to get more than the suggested seven to eight hours of sleep if she has an exam the next day.

All of these symptoms can directly affect our grades. Aren’t you tired of not being able to focus in class because you’re running on four hours of sleep and a Bang energy drink? This isn’t a sustainable lifestyle. 

As college students, we are all busy. We all have a million things to do and not enough time to do them. Even so, we need to start prioritizing our sleep. 

While passing that class is important, so is our health. Get off of your computer, drink some water and please, get some sleep.

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