Now that you’ve flown from the coop and settled in at St. Joe’s, listen up Hawks, I’ve got some important news for you that just might put you to SLEEP…and that would be a good thing! Lack of sleep is one of the main concerns students face when away at college, having to juggle classes, homework, and most importantly, socializing!

Recently, I learned the hard way about how important sleep is. Having not slept for 35 hours straight, I became sick two days later and suffered from a piercing migraine. Not only does a lack of sleep result in a feeling of exhaustion, but also contributes to both mental and physical disabilities:

Weakened Immune System

Trying to create a somewhat normal sleep pattern is difficult while away at school and when you don’t get enough sleep your immune system becomes lowered, allowing for illnesses such as the common cold and flu to easily enter your body. Germs spread quickly in a dorm and no one wants to be responsible for getting their entire floor sick. Learn to adjust to your new environment and help your body to remain strong by catching some zzzz’s instead of that cold.

 

Fighting off the common cold? These two things seem to do the trick, along with a healthy amount of sleep!   Photo by Sean Nauta

Poor Judgement and Academic Struggles

People running on little sleep don’t always realize what that lack of sleep is actually doing to them. Sleep deprivation can lead to a poor GPA and a false sense of confidence. Research has shown that students who get 6 or fewer hours of sleep have a lower GPA than those who get 8 or more. So increase your number of sleep hours, it’s the “smart” thing to do!

Weight Gain

Everyone knows about the “Freshman Fifteen” and fears it more than the “daily special” at Campion! But no matter how many healthy options you may choose to combat it, lack of sleep can increase your hunger and appetite. People who sleep less than six hours a day were almost 30% more likely to become obese! (of course those late night trips to Larry’s don’t help either!)

Memory Impairment

Most people think that when we go to sleep, our brain shuts off. However, it does the exact opposite. While you sleep, the brain organizes all of the events that occurred during the day, sorting the relevant from the irrelevant. If you are sleep deprived, your brain will not be able to retain what you studied. So the next time you’re studying for an exam or trying to understand a certain formula, take the information and “sleep on it.” Who would’ve thought that sleeping for healthy amounts of time, could actually contribute to a smart study habit!

Getting a healthy amount of sleep is more important than you probably thought. According to the American Sleep Association, teenagers and adults need to have six to 10 hours of sleep in order to function properly and stay healthy. A recent study found that more than half of SJU students receive an average of seven hours of sleep. So for the rest of you Hawks, be sure to increase your “rest in the nest”, so that you’ll be ready to soar!

Study showing that 56% of students receive seven hours of sleep, along with the amount other students receive

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