Insomnia in College

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Necessity of Sleep

College students everywhere are famous for their lack of sleep. From studying, to working, to partying life at a university is constantly in motion, and for many students, it’s difficult to find time for sleep. However, the effects of not getting enough sleep and depriving your body of rest are detrimental. These negative consequences hurt students; emotionally, academically, and physically. Their causes can be anything from stress to diet and the sleep deprivation that is brought on can be adverse to students’ health.

According to WebMD, the average adult should be getting at least eight hours of sleep per night, and the average teenager should allow themselves at least nine hours of sleep a night. Therefore college students, being a combination of those two age groups, should be getting somewhere between eight and ten hours of sleep per night. When it is realized that college students are actually only receiving five or six hours per night, there is a clear problem. Losing a few hours of sleep a night might not seem like much, but if a student is only getting six hours a night for a week, then they are actually missing out on more than a whole day of sleep.

Stress affects the quality of their sleep far more than alcohol, caffeine or late-night electronics use, a new study shows. (Journal of Adolescent Health) The Journal of Adolescent health also states that 68% of university students are kept up by stress over school and life. 20% are kept awake at least once a week. With these statistics, it is clear that there is way too high an amount of college students that have sleep disorders. After a typical night's sleep, you may not feel restored and refreshed and be sleepy during the day, but be totally unaware that you are sleep-deprived or have a sleep disorder. You might think, "It's just the stress of work and school," or you might have "always felt this way" and had no idea that you should feel differently. (Breus) Students are suffering and hurting themselves everyday, without the slightest knowledge that staying up all night to finish that paper or finish reading that chapter is actually hurting not helping. In fact, studies show that sleep deprivation leads to issues with memory processes within the brain.

There are three types of memory processes that take place within the brain: acquisition, meaning learning or experiencing something new; consolidation meaning the memory becoming stable within the brain; and recall, meaning you have the ability to access the memory in the future. Acquisition and recall are conscious processes that take place while you are awake, but consolidation can only occur when the brain has had an adequate amount of sleep. Without enough rest, the absorption of information in a way that can be made sense of and recalled at a future time is extremely difficult.

Not only does sleep effect memory, but without a sufficient amount reflexes, fine motor skills, and judgment can be severely diminished. It has also been proven that, when tired, people often tend to believe that they are right when they would normally realize they were wrong. The combination of impaired judgement and lack of memory just goes to show how much it’s actually hurting students to stay up and cram, but students are calling 2:30 am an early night. (Journal of Adolescent Health)

There are many sleep disorders that affect college students every day. Insomnia is the most common sleep disorder in the United States, and affects one out of every three adults at some point in their lives. (Breus) Insomnia is difficulty initiating or maintaining a normal sleep pattern. The severity of insomnia varies amongst individuals, whereas one person may lay awake for hours without being able to shut down their thoughts and let sleep overcome them and another person may have no trouble falling asleep, but they are unable to achieve REM sleep because of frequent awakenings.

Insomnia can lead to a variety of...
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