Tips For a Better Night’s Sleep
Sep. 6, 2016
Have you ever bragged to someone about how well you’re functioning despite lack of sleep?
Some wear it as a badge of honor, this idea that sleep is necessary for the general public but they are somehow immune to the effects of deprivation. It’s like a Concorde student bragging about pulling an all-nighter in preparation for a final exam.
Studies in health care awareness show these people have another thing coming.
Sleep deprivation=downing a few too many beers
A study conducted some years ago by the University of New South Wales found that after 17-19 hours without sleep their test subjects performed some test functions equivalent to someone who had a blood alcohol content of .05%.
Swapping sleep for sick days
“When you sleep poorly, you have three times the amount of sickness,” Richard Shane, Ph.D., a behavioral sleep specialist says. Consistently sleeping fewer than six hours a night makes you more likely to catch a cold, finds a 2015 study.
Sleeping doesn’t mean the brain turns off
On the contrary, scientists have found that when we sleep, our brains retain memories, rehearse important information and create pathways that allow us to recall things that occurred during the day that we may have forgotten during periods of awareness.
Snacking tied to sleeplessness
Harvard School of Public Health cites, “A growing body of research suggests that there’s a link between how much people sleep and how much they weigh. In general, children and adults who get too little sleep tend to weigh more than those who get enough sleep.”
So, as you can see, sleeplessness does more than just throw off your body clock. It affects you physically, emotionally and mentally.
Sleep is similar to exercise or eating healthier. We all know that it’s important, but when faced with the alternative to binge watch an entire season on Netflix or shut out the lights, health care awareness flies out the window, and the decision to do the right thing becomes … challenging.
What’s a person to do?
Find and maintain a sleep schedule: Many leading experts in health care awareness have studied the effects of sleeping in or trying to “make up for lost sleep,” only to find that this is myth. Studies show that waking at roughly the same time each day and going to be similarly between a two hour time window leads to more consistent sleep.
Cease screen time an hour before retiring: Most likely one of the more difficult things to do as a student pursuing a health care degree, turning off televisions, phones and portable devices off before you get some shut-eye can make a world of difference in how and when our bodies enter REM sleep cycles.
Create the optimal sleeping space: Getting a good night’s rest doesn’t just involve the lighting, but the temperature too.
Dr. Christopher Winter, Medical Director at Charlottesville Neurology & Sleep Medicine, says your bedroom should be between 60 to 67 degrees Fahrenheit for optimal sleep. Temperatures above 75 degrees and below 54 degrees can disrupt sleep.
Curious about why? Check out this article to learn more.
Know that not sleeping or running on a few hours every night is not a tradeoff that is required for success. Rather than damaging your body and jeopardizing your time in class, stop by the student affairs office and visit with our staff. They’re here to help you from earning A’s to catching some Z’s.