The Effects of Rest on College Students: Are You Getting Enough Sleep?
The average college student only gets around six hours of sleep per night. Recent research on college students and sleep indicates that insufficient sleep impacts our health, our moods, our GPA and our safety. Sleep is important for a number of reasons. It restores our energy, fights off illness and fatigue by strengthening our immune system, helps us think more clearly and creatively, strengthens memory and produces a more positive mood and better performance throughout the day. Sleep isn’t just a passive activity and something to fill the time when we are inactive, but rather it is an active and dynamic process vital for normal motor and cognitive function.
Most adults need somewhere between eight hours of sleep per night. Different people need different amounts of sleep to feel rested. If you are frequently tired or irritable during the day and find yourself sleeping more than an extra two hours per night on weekends, then you are probably not getting enough sleep during the week. Try for eight hours and see how you feel.
Lack of sleep can cause many health issues, including death, and people are often not aware that they are at risk. Since sleep deprivation can impact the immune system function, our ability to fight off infections becomes more difficult, and we are more prone to getting upper respiratory infections, such as cold and flu and often feel “run down.” Heart and lung function is adversely affected by lack of sleep and is associated with worsening chronic lung and heart disease and high blood pressure.
Lack of sleep has also been linked to obesity. With sleep deprivation, there is an increase in the hormone, ghrelin, which is associated with hunger for high calorie foods. There is a decrease in the hormone leptin which reduces appetite. This leads to weight gain in many people.
Be on the safe side and get the recommended amount of sleep for overall well being. Georgia State University’s Mind-Body Clinic focuses on teaching students the importance of rest and relaxation. To make an appointment at the Mind-Body Clinic, call the Counseling & Testing Center at 404-413-1640.
Here are some additional resources if you are suffering from a sleeping disorder, or would like more information on how sleep can affect you.