This topic has been drilled into high school students’ heads many times, though it often seems that it goes in through one ear and out the other. Everyone knows that sleep is essential to human life. However, many people don’t know to what extent the amount of sleep we get affects us. Sleep deprivation is taken much too lightly among students, and that is largely due to their lack of knowledge and understanding. If only students understood that it is more than just a bodily function, and that sleep has a strong influence on the quality of our life.
What exactly is sleep? It is the time our body renders us unconscious to refresh and energize itself. This necessary function reduces the risk of heart problems, cancer, stress, and obesity. It improves moods, helps your brain work faster, creates more memories and improves chances of a longer life. But it’s more than just that.
This is because the part of the brain that is responsible for basic emotions becomes wary during sleep deprivation. Sleep deprivation can become a real problem if it is a regular occurrence, posing a serious threat to mental health.
Students during the COVID-19 pandemic know the significance of mental health to studies and learning more than anyone. Learning has already been made harder during these difficult times, without mental health as an added burden. Waking up feeling sleep-deprived and grumpy can reduce the amount of information obtained in one day. The bigger problem is that continual sleep deprivation causes students to feel more unhappy and raises the chances of depression. As hard as it already is, it will become harder to focus and concentrate in class and performance rates might drop. Regular and steady sleep routines help people get up in the morning with a sense of optimism and a higher functioning brain. During these times, even a little optimism can go a long way.
It’s not easy trying to switch from sleep deprivation to a healthy amount of sleep, but there are always steps that can be taken to make it easier. It’s important to manage diet before bed. Stay away from coffee and other items that contain caffeine. Steer towards water and warm beverages, as they would prevent disruption of the circadian rhythm compared to other drinks. Stay away from screens before bed, keeping phones and devices as far from beds is probably the most important factor to get more sleep. It’s vital to establish a routine before bed to be followed each day, this helps the brain understand that it’s time for bed and eventually going to sleep quicker.
All in all, sleep is more important than most people think and more important than students would like to admit. While they might think it’s “cool” or more “grown-up” to get less sleep than the recommended amount for their age, it’s affecting them subtly yet surely, drawing them towards a shorter life.