Sweet dreams – the importance of sleep

We’ve all heard it before: sleep is important for your health and well-being. But for some reason, sleep seems to be one of the first things to take a back burner when life gets crazy. You just have to finish grading those papers, answering those emails, or maybe even just watching one more episode of your latest Netflix craze. I will admit that I too do these things. But I will also admit that because of that, I learned a hard lesson about putting my health and well-being before anything else. My freshman year of college, there was one week where EVERYTHING was due. I stayed up late working on my homework the whole week. But, that’s when classes got even more difficult because I got the flu. I was miserable the whole next week and had to miss a few classes. Bottom line is, is staying up late to finish something really worth it if it will later affect the same thing?

My answer is no. From then on, I have always completed as much homework as I possibly could within a reasonable time. I would rather take extra time on a project than turn it in in my sleep-deprived state, because it probably wasn’t done to the best of my abilities in the first place. Anything you have to do will still be there in the morning. My best tip is to learn how to practice good time management skills so you can get the beauty rest you really need.

If my personal story doesn’t convince you, then maybe some science will. According to the National Institutes of Health, a consistent loss of sleep can lead to struggling with memory, concentration, and slowed reaction time. These things are detrimental to personal and professional lives, not to mention getting into the driver’s seat of a car, or other dangerous activities. Sleep deprivation can increase the risk of accidents in the car, or just in everyday life tasks. These are only the beginning effects that sleep loss has on the body. Over time, prolonged sleep loss can lead to hostility, alcohol use, use of medications to stay awake, weight problems, poor decision making, and more

So really, just put down the work, the book, or the remote and get some shut eye. You will be a happier, healthier person both psychologically, and physiologically. And if you are having trouble sleeping all the time, you aren’t alone. There are over 40 million Americans suffering from over 70 different sleep disorders, so don’t be afraid to seek help from a doctor. Wishing you sweet dreams and a good night’s rest.

Alicia Diedrich

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