Students need sleep to be successful

Megan Ditore, For the Review

Pulling an all-nighter, as college students we all know how that goes.

While it is hard to get a good night sleep with noisy dorms, stress of classes and lots of other activities, sleep deprivation is a real concern on many college campuses.

Weather we are staying up all night studying for exams or doing school work, it is considered normal to stay up most of the night, especially as we buckle down for midterms.

Although it may seem like the only way to get everything done is to stay up all night, relying on all-nighters too often can adversely affect students’ grades and overall health.

Ideally, college aged students should get eight to nine hours of sleep at night, generally though students get much less.

Getting less than six hours of sleep per night can lead to shortages in concentration, attention, memory and critical thinking all of which will have a negative effect on the dreaded midterm.

Not only does not enough sleep have negative effects on school work, it also negatively affects your mood. Students often become more depressed, irritable, and anxious when they are not taking care of themselves.

Many students will drink caffeinated beverages like coffee or energy drinks to stay awake until early in the morning. Caffeine has been called the most popular drug in the world, according to The Sleep Foundation. Because caffeine is a stimulant it is commonly used after waking up in the morning or to remain alert during the day.

Caffeine cannot replace sleep, unfortunately, it can only temporarily make us feel more alert by blocking sleep-inducing chemicals in the brain while increasing adrenalin production, according to The Sleep Foundation.

Patty Haddeland the Health Wellness and Counseling Center director said that there are light stages of sleep and deep stages of sleep. While in the light stage, motor learning occurs. The deep stage is where we process and consolidate noncomplex information and simple motor skills.

REM sleep she says, there is declarative memory; this is fact based on information especially complex like math science or language. Procedural memory is when you are able to remember how to do something like play an instrument or conduct an experiment.

Students staying up all night cramming for their midterms are losing this time for the brain to store away important information.

It may seem impossible not to stay up all night to get everything done, but there are a few study changes students can try to get it all done.  Students should try to study around 6-8 p.m. and avoid studying in early afternoons because this is usually when the brain is less alert. Do not over use caffeinated drinks because caffeine remains in your system for 6-8 hours.

Finally, try turning off your cell phone or bright screens of any sort 30 minutes before hitting the pillow. This can make it easier to fall asleep because the light from the screens block melatonin in your brain, without the right amount of melatonin your brain is being tricked into thinking you are still awake.

Try to establish a nighttime ritual where you give yourself time to wind down, stay healthy and ace that midterm.