With many students trying to balance job duties, schoolwork, social events and time with family and friends, many find it difficult to get enough sleep to keep up with their activities.
Amy Cavender, University Wellness Education coordinator, said sleep deprivation is when someone does not get enough sleep to meet the body’s needs.
Some people are able to function on only a few hours of sleep each night, while others need longer periods of rest “Some people feel fine with four hours of sleep, and other require up to 10,” according to the Web site www.postgradmed.com. “The right amount of sleep for you is the amount that allows you to awake refreshed and have energy throughout the day.”
Cindy Mack, technical director for the Louisiana Sleep Foundation, said a person who needs 10 hours of sleep per night will feel sleep deprived if they only get four hours of rest. But, Mack said, a person who is used to getting four hours of sleep a night can perform at peak levels after getting that amount of rest.
According to the Post Grad Med Web site, people who do not get enough sleep can suffer from side effects including lack of energy, depression, irritability, trouble remembering everyday things and sickness.
Since many students often find themselves up late at night working or partying, naps can be a good supplement and provide some needed rest.
“Some studies indicate that as few as 10 minutes of relaxation can have a positive effect on cognition, mood and feelings of fatigue,” Cavender said.
However, Mack warned that sleeping too many hours during the day can prevent people from getting to sleep at night.
Cavender said stimulants such as coffee and Red Bull can keep people awake, but are not a replacement for sleep.
“People should not try to replace caffeine for sleep,” Cavender said. “These people will just become irritable, unfocused and clumsy.”
Cavender had several suggestions for those who have trouble falling asleep. First, people should reduce their caffeine intake, especially in the afternoon and at night. Second, people should use their beds only for sleeping and not as a study hall, office or TV lounge. Third, check all medications to make sure they do not interfere with sleep. And finally, if someone has trouble falling asleep, they can get up and do something quiet and relaxing until they begin to feel drowsy.