Feeling fatigued? You are not alone.
Being privy to “study pills” and all-nighters, campus inhabitants are prone to a predominantly sleep-deprived norm.
The Residence Hall Association (RHA) hosted a sleep awareness event to promote the power of a good night’s sleep. Stuffed animals and sleep deprivation information were included.
Sixty-one students were lined up just before 4 p.m. in Armstrong’s Shade Family room on Wednesday, March 8. The event ran from 4 to 6 p.m., but just 40 minutes into the event, the supply of animals was depleted.
The deeper cause behind the inaugural event was best explained by RHA advisory chair Courtney Rose, who had been planning since January.
“We have to keep ourselves healthy first. We’re not going to do well if we don’t keep ourselves healthy,” Rose explained.
Inspired and guided in the planning process by Miami Activities and Programming (MAP) president Elsa Clenny, who previously hosted a Valentine’s Day-themed teddy bear event on February 14, Rose took the opportunity to promote national sleep awareness month on campus.
Participants saw its relevancy, too. First-year Madison Krell stated that students’ freedom to “stay up until 2 a.m. doing nothing” epitomizes why she thinks that college students are so sleep deprived.
With mental exhaustion and booked schedules, the physical consequences of below recommended hours are distinctive. For some, they’re even instinctive. First-year Deniz Tetkas admitted her body knows when it needs to “catch up and relax.”
Although naps are common tactics to combat drowsiness and act as “rewards” after class, Tetkas admitted those mid-day bouts of rest have the ability to disorient one’s whole day.
Another source of “fuel” for students, targeted specifically by Rose, is adderall or other drugs used to either stay awake or catalyze sleep. Side effects of frequent use of these drugs include memory loss, addiction and depression.
The National Sleep Foundation finds that 8.5 to 9.25 hours of sleep for young adults is healthiest. However, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly 70 percent of this group does not meet the recommended quota on school nights.
Sleep deprivation can have both short-term and long-term effects.
A sleep-related study was recently published by a University of Pennsylvania professor in criminology, psychiatry and psychology, Adrian Raine. The study, based on about 30 years of research, concluded that teens who report feelings of drowsiness as teenagers are 4.5 times more prone to delinquency in adulthood.
Sleep problems can be perpetuated by antisocial behavior breaking rules, swearing and combativeness. These aggressive tendencies are worsened when an individual is not well rested, so the cycle continues.
Rose expressed no surprise by that statement, but rather understanding.
“We have to keep ourselves healthy first. We’re not going to do well if we don’t keep ourselves healthy,” Rose said.
Student health was precisely the focus for RHA’s event. Stuffing toy elephants and teddy bears was only a side attraction.
Alternatives to unhealthy sleep inducers that RHA suggested for students included bananas, chamomile tea, milk, aromatherapy and yoga.
Although only the tea was included in the event’s “goody bags,” the organizers also hoped to send participants home with an impressionable message on sleep health.
RHA’s parting message: “Get some zzz’s.”