It would be extremely rare to find a college student who said that they feel well rested at all times throughout the day. Does this scenario sound familiar (in chronological order)?
- wake up on a Sunday and spend the day watching football (or other activities helpful in procrastinating)
- realize at 6pm it might be a good idea to start studying for your exam the next morning
- decide to finish other homework first and finally begin studying at 9pm
- at 11 pm realize you are much less prepared than you thought and decide to grab a redbull and mentally prepare yourself for the long night still ahead of you
- take a "power nap" at 3 am and wake up at 8 am to go take your test
- once the exams over, head back to bed, pushing back homework for that day, and the cycle begins again.
If this doesn't sound familiar, you are one of the lucky (or perhaps more organized few). Studies show that over 40% of Americans are sleep deprived. I would venture to say that that percentage would be much higher at any given college campus as students try to balance work, school, and sports. Sleep deprivation has the potential to be extremely detrimental to our health, yet it is completely in our control.
One interesting fact about sleep deprivation is that it accumulates over time (as depicted in the cartoon by the sleep debt boulder). So as many students think they can simple catch up on sleep on the weekend, it may be tough to account for all the sleep lost the entire week.
This cheesy cartoon shows one of the many side-effects of sleep deprivation. Others include: increased irritability, increased cardiovascular disorders, slow reflexes, hand tremors, and (my favorite) droopy eyelids