Harmful Effects of Not Receiving Enough Sleep

The act of balancing school, work, and life is a difficult struggle that many students face, leaving many sleep-deprived. Students tend to relinquish sleep to meet their responsibilities.

The National Sleep Foundation recommends that young adults need seven to nine hours of sleep per night. However, reports state that only 15% are sleeping eight and a half hours on school nights. Further, students tend to have an irregular sleep schedule, consisting of staying up late and getting up early on weekdays and typically sleeping in on weekends. This cycle tends to underthrow one’s sleep cycle.

The sleep cycle includes five stages which occur within continuous ninety-minute intervals. The first four stages are preparing your body for sleep, and the last stage is REM (rapid eye movement) in which dreams occur.

The digression of a regular (consistent) sleep schedule impacts three domains; physical and mental health, as well as motivational factors. Individuals who receive minimal sleep regularly report feeling deeply affected on all three domains. A survey conducted by the Sleep Foundation disclosed the following statics, 56% of individuals report that their poor amount of sleep affects them physically. Whereas 47% report that it affects their mental health and 46% state that lack of motivation is present due to minimal sleep.

There are other consequences of not receiving enough sleep, such as limiting students’ ability to actively engage with the educational material and decreasing their ability to problem solve. Lack of sleep can also impact memory.

Additionally, sleep can affect one’s immunity. When individuals receive minimal sleep, the body makes a smaller amount of cytokines, which is a protein that supports the immune system. The anti-inflammatory cytokines are molecules that control inflammatory responses. When people do not get enough sleep, it reduces the body’s ability to fight back illnesses. Although there are health risks, individuals still do not value sleep. A 2018 poll conducted by the Sleep Foundation stated that only 10% of Americans prioritize sleep and 27% value work. Overall people tend to allocate their time effectively except when it comes to obtaining the appropriate amount of sleep.

In conclusion, sleep is opulence that few can afford. Luckily there are plenty of sleep tips to promote a healthy sleep schedule. A few practices to create a relaxing bedtime ritual, taking power naps (twenty minutes is ideal) and limiting phone usage before bed (the bright light disrupts the production of melatonin). Moreover, there are tips for staying awake that can help during a prolonged schedule. Some examples include consuming caffeine and constantly moving to help activate your body to feel alert!

Works Cited:

Colbert, T. (2019, March 8). NSF’s 2019 Sleep in America® Poll Shows Disciplined Sleepers
Reap Reward. Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/nsfs-2019-sleep-america-poll-shows-disciplined-sleepers-reap-reward

National Sleep Foundation’s 2018 Sleep in America® Poll Shows Americans Failing to Prioritize
Sleep. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.sleepfoundation.org/press-release/national-sleep-foundations-2018-sleep-americar-poll-shows-americans-failing

Power Nap Like a Pro – Sleep.org. (n.d.). Retrieved from

Zhang, J., & An, J. (2007). Cytokines, inflammation, and pain. Retrieved from

Article by: Alexis Takagi

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