The Daily Gamecock

Opinion: College students still need their sleep

It’s Sunday evening. 

You just turned in that history paper with five minutes to spare. It was assigned weeks ago, but you waited until the last minute to start. To celebrate your hard work ethic, you reward yourself with some quality Netflix time. You are so invested in the Riverdale episode you’re watching that you don’t realize what time it is. You look over at your phoneto see “3 a.m.,” which stinks since you have to wake up at 8 a.m. tomorrow. You really hope you’ll be able to run on five hours of sleep. 

Sound familiar? 

This is pretty reminiscent of many college students’ nights. If Netflix isn’t depriving them of sleep, scrolling through social media, trying to finish a homework assignment or general stress often takes a toll on their sleeping habits. Either way, college students are not getting enough sleep and are suffering because of it. 

The University of Georgia’s health center website reported college students get between 6 and 6.9 hours of sleep a night, but according to the National Sleep Foundation, adults need between 7 and 9 hours of sleep. 

A lack of sleep can cause a variety of issues, affecting everything from an individual’s physical health to academic performance. Effects can include: weakening of the immune system, increased stress, a lower GPA, increased risks of obesity, a danger to mental health, possible car accidents due to falling asleep at the wheel and decreased athletic performance. 

Sleep deprivation may also affect someone’s emotional state because the brain is not receiving the rejuvenation it needs to function properly. This can lead to severe mood swings that cause a person to make impulsive decisions or lash out.   

Not getting enough sleep influences the brain’s ability to function, greatly harming your learning. During sleep, the brain sorts and stores newly learned information. Sleep deprivation hinders how your memory accounts for information. Without enough sleep, you won’t be able to make connections between new information and your memory. This can, in turn, affect your grades, making you more stressed in the long run. 

A major problem I have when trying to go to sleep is separating myself from my phone. A HuffPost and YouGov survey found 63% of smartphone users between the ages of 18 and 29 sleep with their phones in their beds. 

A study done by Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Charles A. Czeisler discovered the reason we feel less inclined to sleep when we are on our phones at night is because of the blue electric light our devices emit. This light triggers “arousing neurons" in our brains.

A way to limit the urge to scroll through your phone or device at night is to set it where you can’t and won’t be tempted to reach it. Keeping your device away in preparation for sleep, even 30 minutes before sleeping, creates all the difference. 

Missing out on a good night’s sleep once in a while to study is okay, but if you are constantly forgoing the rest you need to finish your schoolwork, you will only end up more stressed and less able to concentrate than before. Try planning out your day by making an organized schedule of when you should be completing assignments to stay on top of your workload. 

Remember, school is important and social media and entertainment apps are fun to enjoy, but your health and sleep should always come first. Trust me, you’ll be thanking yourself in the morning.