Getting enough sleep as a college student isn’t easy, but it is important. Without adequate sleep, your decision-making capability, grades, and emotional well-being are all in danger of slipping.
A few late nights aren’t going to destroy your college career. But habitual lack of sleep can lead to academic, physical, and emotional consequences.
Getting five or less hours of sleep during the week will make you irritable, overly hungry or unable to eat, confused, and lethargic. This is not the best recipe for excelling in class, or even for staying awake in class. Lack of sleep also affects memory – you will not be able to remember lectures as well as you would have if you were rested.
If you turn to caffeine or sugar to stay awake, you may alternate between yawning in your professor’s face and jiggling in your seat from a jittery caffeine/sugar high.
Without enough sleep – 7 to 8 hours is recommended – you may miss class due to sleeping late, forget to turn in assignments, and even stop caring about your academic success because you are so tired.
Getting regular sleep can bring you back to your normal mindset, hunger levels, and energy levels. Keeping up with academics in college is hard enough, without adding lack of sleep to the mix.
Lack of sleep affects the body in multiple ways – slowed responses, dizziness, aching muscles, and excessive hunger (or lack of eating) being a few. Long-term effects can include weight loss or gain, chronic headaches or muscle pain, and even symptoms similar to ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder).
Eventually the body will fight back against prolonged lack of sleep, by crashing. This could mean micro-sleeps – aka 30-60 second blackouts – when you are sitting in class or on a bus; oversleeping; or getting through the day in a haze and crashing at night.
You will experience low energy when you need it the most, to focus in class, to study outside of class, and simply to get through the day.
Not only your academic career and physical health, but your emotional well-being is on the line when you don’t get enough sleep. Irritability and lack of focus can damage your relationships with your friends, loved ones, and family.
You may find yourself getting overly angry over small incidents, forgetting important dates, and being too tired to connect with the people who are most important to you.
When meeting with professors, you may express yourself too emotionally, such as yelling or crying, when talking about grades or other assessments.
As a college student, this may be the most important time in your life to get regular sleep. Otherwise, your academic career, physical health, and social life can suffer.
Getting enough sleep doesn’t mean giving up late nights with friends – it just means making sure that not every night, is a late night.