Sleep can be your best friend in college

By Alexa Lago, Opinion Editor

Today I came to one very important conclusion: I need to get more sleep. After averaging five hours of sleep a night over the course of four days, I crashed and slept in until 2 p.m.

This is, of course, not the first time this has happened, and I’m sure many of you reading this can identify with this kind of vicious sleep-deprived cycle.

In fact, according to the University of Georgia Health Center, “on average, most college students get 6 – 6.9 hours of sleep per night.” This is not at all surprising.

Between attending classes, working, studying, writing papers, doing homework and having a social life, it seems virtually impossible to get enough sleep.

We are all struggling to find some kind of happy medium when it comes to fitting in all of our commitments into a small span of time. The problem is that we don’t really understand how important sleep is.

According to University of Georgia Health Center, lack of sleep can cause an increased chance of becoming ill, gaining weight, struggling with mental illnesses, being in automobile accidents (especially for all you commuters), and of course, having a lower GPA.

That’s right, all of those hours you spend staying up late and cramming are actually hurting you more than they are helping you. Loss of sleep causes us to struggle to retain information and no number of hours of studying we put in can change that.

Michael P. Stryker, a researcher at the University of California, even found that, “if you reviewed your notes thoroughly until you were tired and then slept, you’d achieve as much plasticity, or ‘learning,’ in the brain as if you’d pulled an all-nighter repeating your review of the material.”

This is great news, but only helps if you make a conscious effort to change your sleeping and study habits.

As we reach the end of mid-terms and head into the last eight weeks of classes, I urge you to make a pact with yourself to get more sleep. We are going to need all of the extra brain power and energy we can get to get through the next two months.

It’s not too late to make the change, and it will certainly help decrease the stress of finals week if you can go into it already having relatively good grades.

Instead of going out or cramming for a test, cuddle up under your covers, set your phone to “Do Not Disturb” and get some much needed shut-eye.