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College students need more sleep

Olivia Moody, Staff Columnist

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It’s no secret that we college students have some pretty dumb habits. Not getting enough sleep is a huge one. Some stay up until the wee hours of the morning, eyes glued to a screen, and then sleep past lunch time. Some stay up into the late hours of the night studying, only to rise again at the crack of dawn to go to class. Our developing minds need about seven to eight hours of sleep each night, yet most of us get around six, according to a health study by the University of Georgia. This lack of sleep keeps us from performing well academically. It keeps our bodies from fully and successfully operating. We get sick, we gain weight and we become depressed.

Did anyone else stay absolutely sick freshman year? I never slept enough – I was too caught up on all the exciting things flying at me with all my newfound freedom. I stayed out late, was constantly with friends and never stopped to rest for even a moment. As a result, my sleeping schedule began to suffer. My immune system wasn’t being fueled, and I stayed sick. My roommates stayed sick. When one would get well, the other would get her sick again. It’s because we didn’t get enough sleep. We deprived our bodies of rest, and boy did we reap the consequences.

The “Freshman 15” is also a startling reality. These few extra pounds hit everyone sooner or later, whether it’s the first semester of freshman year or a few semesters down the road. While most point to drinking as the immediate reason for weight gain, the freshman 15 has many other triggers as well. Students are sleep deprived the majority of the time, which according to a study at the University of Georgia, slows their metabolism. They stay up later, which causes them to indulge in late-night snacking. Because they are so weary, many students find it hard to exercise.

Depression and anxiety are also effects of sleeplessness. You’re tired, which makes you more emotional. It makes day-to-day activities all the more difficult, causing you to shrink away from your responsibilities and even your school work. You don’t have the energy for conversation, and you definitely don’t have the energy to study. And let’s be real, you are here to learn. We aren’t here to rage and wild out, but to learn and prepare a future for ourselves. We can’t do that if we aren’t attending class, turning in assignments or studying for tests. And guess what? We can’t do those things if we aren’t getting enough sleep!

There is an easy solution to these many problems we face: Let your body rest. Say no to going out every now and then. I promise your body will thank you for it. And – get this – once you’re in bed, put the phone down! Your body is begging you to take care of it.

These can’t be the best four years of your life if you continue to ignore your body’s natural cues. If you don’t, your body will begin to deteriorate more than it already has. Start taking care of yourself right now. Exercise daily and give your body a reason to want to sleep at night. Make a schedule and give yourself plenty of sleep each week night. Save your wild late nights for the weekends. Make your school work a priority and get it done on time. Fuel your brain and body so that they can, in turn, fuel you.

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College students need more sleep