What's the big deal with sleep?

We spend about 30 percent of our lives doing it. We know we need it – but just how important is it? On its 25th anniversary, the National Sleep Foundation released the results of a study that took more than two years of research to complete: an updated guideline on how much sleep people need. It is a well-known fact that many college students don’t get enough sleep. A new sleep study published by the National Sleep Foundation adds a new age category that targets young adults. Previously there was just one category of adults from age 18 and up. Now, a separate category of young adults from ages 18 to 25 has been added. Typically, young adults experience sleep deficit more than any other age category.

According to the study, young adults need about seven to nine hours of sleep every night. The study also recommends making sleep a priority, and to stop doing other things so you get the sleep you need.

But as all college students know too well, making sleep a priority can be a difficult task.

“I definitely wouldn’t say I prioritize sleep over my friends or homework,” junior Daniela Zimmer said.

The daily life of a college student involves juggling their academics, job and social life. In between is when stu­dents will try to fit sleep in.

“The amount of sleep I get all depends on what else I have going on,” Zimmer said. “I prioritize getting stuff done, and if that means I have to sleep less, then that’s what happens. I wake up early sometimes to do homework.”

The updated sleep chart includes three categories: a recommended amount of sleep, a not recommended amount, and an amount that may be appropriate. Young adults are, of course, recommended seven to nine hours. Six hours, 10 hours, and 11 hours may be appropriate. Anything above 11 or below 6 is not recommend­ed.

“I get about seven hours a night, and I feel like that is a lot for a college stu­dent,” Zimmer said.

Many of us are too familiar with the feeling of not getting enough sleep, but do many of us acknowledge the long-term effects this can have?

Sleep is a critical component to our overall health and well-being. Added sleep debt messes with our reaction times and overall brain function abil­ity, according to the National Sleep Foundation.

What is to blame for sleep debt, though? According to sleep.org, fac­tors ranging from electronics to sleep disorders are at fault. Many elements can be to blame in a college student’s life. The pressure of school, extracur­ricular activities, social life and family are all to blame for a lack of shut-eye.


Staff Reporter

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