Sleep deprivation among most unhealthy study practices imaginable

Finals are just around the corner and if your life has been anything like mine, tests and papers are a weekly event.

It’s hard to get everything done in the all too short day. If you’re a working student, then you know the end of the semester can become hectic. Time goes into hyper-speed and, the next thing you know, you’re a few weeks away from finals, the workload is getting heavier and you begin to fall behind.

Our sleep is usually where we mine for the time to get all this shit done. We cut back on our sacred siesta hours in order to finish a paper or cram for a test. We tell ourselves the semester is almost over and it’s worth suffering weariness for a few weeks for a higher grade.

Depriving yourself from sleep at times could seem like a great idea — or the only choice — but losing sleep is more detrimental than getting an extra two hours of reading done is beneficial.

Studies have shown that sleep deprivation is extremely harmful to your physical and mental health. Symptoms of lack of shuteye like sluggishness and forgetfulness are not the result college students need when trying to retain information.

But more than that, the latest studies of sleep point to an improvement in learning and memory. According to “60 Minutes,” getting sleep can actually help you learn and remember things better. A study found if you practice a skill, get a good night’s rest and practice again the next day, you will have improved. Whereas, if you practice the same amount of time twice in one day your skill level will stay the same.

Now, take a moment to think about what this means for studying. Slowly sinking in? The answer to doing well is going to bed. It’s like telling a swimmer that he or she can breath underwater. This news is big.

There is no point in staying up late cramming information into our brains if we’re going to forget it all because we lack sleep. You have a better chance of passing a test by reading a bit just before you start your eight hours of rest.

This is the best news I’ve heard all year. This means I can get some sleep and not feel guilty for not studying more.

For those of you who are not quite convinced and still plan to cram all night long before tests, consider these rats. After lab rats were kept awake for five days they began to die. Die! In studies with humans, lack of sleep can cause a healthy college student to show signs of diabetes, obesity, slow reaction time, loss of focus and difficulty remembering things — all in just a matter of days.

However, students are constantly pressured to do more and work harder. We go to class, go to work and study all night. We wouldn’t make it through college without some sort of sleep deprivation, no matter how we manage our time.

It’s apparent that sleep is vital to success and a healthy life, but we live in a world where you have to lose sleep to be competitive. Don’t get me wrong; I am not talking smack on competition. But there’s something wrong when staying competitive translates into damages to our health.

Perhaps if college really were affordable, most students would not have to balance a workweek with class and study hours.

A few hours of sleep per night and a few all nighters are commonplace occurrences for student’s, especially toward the end of the semester. However, I suggest you do what you can to get some quality hours of sleep under your belt — er, pillow.

Serafina Costanza is a senior journalism major and an assistant opinions editor for the Daily Forty-Niner.

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