Why Sleep Is Imperative for College Students

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Sleep is often the last thing on college students' minds, as they pull all-nighters to cram for exams, stay out 'til the wee hours partying and clubbing with friends, and stay up late watching the late night shows with Conan O'Brian and George Lopez before their morning classes. Or it may be the first thing on some of their minds because they never seem to get enough of it with work, family responsibilities and college exams and projects on their minds. Whatever camp you happen to fall in, it's imperative for your overall health and well-being that you start getting in the habit of sleeping a full 7-8 hours of sleep each night.

Why is sleep such a big deal? First of all, when you don't get enough of it, you often find that you start performing poorly in school due to difficulty concentrating during class lectures and while studying at home. If we pull an all-nighter, essentially going even one day without sleep, not only do we feel grumpy and groggy, but we have difficulty concentrating and our attention span is shot. So forget trying to learn effectively in a traditional classroom or from a lecture in your online classes. Your brain feels like mush without sleep.

This is why experts say it's a bad idea for students to pull all-nighters to cram for mid-terms and finals. Not only does the lack of sleep keep students from absorbing material as they study for hours on end, but it also typically leads to difficulty remembering vital information on the actual exam the next day.

Aside from diminishing your concentration, not getting enough sleep has other negative effects on emotional and physical health. Research has suggested that sleep loss may increase the risk of obesity because the hormones that control appetite and weight gain are released during sleep, according to the BBC. Other studies have shown that lack of sleep due to sleep disorders is linked to cardiovascular issues like hypertension, higher stress hormone levels and irregular heartbeat, according to Harvard Health Publications. Not to mention lack of sleep has a bad effect on immune function, which plays a key role in fighting off a variety of diseases.

Finally, another danger you can avoid by getting enough sleep is falling asleep at the wheel on your way to work or class. Sleep deprivation leads to daytime drowsiness, and people all too often nod off while behind the wheel of a vehicle, risking their lives and the lives of others. By getting a full 7-8 hours of sleep, you'll be refreshed to face the next day, maintain better health and have improved concentration and memory to focus on your classes.

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