Nurse’s Notes: Sleep deprivation hinders students

College students are at a high risk of not getting enough sleep. Most people need to sleep about eight hours each night. A study at the University of St. Thomas in Minnesota said that 70 percent of college students get less than eight hours of sleep.

Lack of sleep decreases one’s ability to learn, remember and process new facts, according to Brown University Health Promotion. So, studying most of the night for a test and then sleeping only a couple of hours decreases your ability to remember new information. Not getting enough sleep for several nights can cause a decrease in your ability to function during the day. It can affect your health by weakens your immune system.

Fifty percent of students, compared to 38 percent of adults, complain of being sleepy during the day. At least three days a week, 60 percent of students report that they are dragging, tired or sleepy.

Reports show that students who do not get enough sleep have lower grades than those students who sleep at least eight hours. Sleep deprived students become more likely to miss class or fall asleep in class. Eighty-two percent of students believe that their lack of sleep affects their schoolwork according to an article by Shelley D. Hershner and Ronald D. Chervin.

Many college students are sleep deprived because they go to sleep late and wake up for classes before they get enough sleep. Sleepiness and poor sleep schedules affects learning, memory, performance and health in many ways according to an article by Susan Davis in WebMD Magazine.

Many activities, like consuming alcohol and caffeine and using electronics can make students more alert before going to bed.

Healthy sleep is important for your overall health. Sleep loss has a connection to several of our biggest health problems. With lack of sleep, you increase your risk for heart disease, being overweight or having diabetes.

It also puts you at risk for drowsy driving accidents. Not getting enough sleep seriously affects your ability to drive. Driving while tired is as dangerous as driving while drunk. According to Brown University, more than 40,000 injuries and 1,500 deaths each year result from car accidents involving sleepy drivers.

Students need to know the importance of sleep and the negative effects of sleep deprivation. Colleges should encourage students to get enough sleep and to form good sleep habits. Students should develop good sleep habits in order to be more alert and perform better in school.