This week we are learning about sleep, as in how it affects our brains and ultimately how we function and get through the day with or without it. We were given a TED Talks video to watch titled “Why do we sleep?” in which Russell Foster gave three possible theories of what in our daily lives is affected the most by sleep and what purpose does sleep have.
Out of the three theories, I mostly agree with the third one he presented, which included information processing, memory building, and learning (functions of the brain). Many statistics have shown that those who are sleep deprived also tend to suffer from a considerable amount of stress. A lack of sleep can add to this stress by making it hard to concentrate and remember things throughout the day. This could easily make someone want to resort to caffeinated drinks, alcohol, and/or harmful drugs. Another negative effect for a loss of sleep is excessive weight gain. Lack of sleep has also been linked with either the cause of or adding to the severity of mental illnesses. Russell Foster explained how a lack of sleep does not only affect your daily functions, but it affects your long-term well-being.
Personally, my sleep habits tend to change throughout the year. Sometimes I can get my body on a good sleep schedule and manage to get enough sleep throughout the week. Of course, there are many times when I stay up too late working on homework and only end up getting about 6 hours of sleep those nights. Overall, I could definitely try to get into bed earlier, put down my electronics and hopefully fall asleep at a more decent time than I usually do.
If I were to set a realistic goal for the amount of sleep (in hours) that college kids should be getting every night, I would say about 8 hours. In my opinion, this would be enough sleep for students to wake up feeling refreshed, yet still giving them enough time for homework or other activities to do throughout the day. Of course, it would be a miracle if college students got enough sleep each night, but we can dream.