Updated: Feb 3, 2019
Many students today endure an ever-growing pressure from their family, peers, and themselves to succeed. From many students’ perspective, this success only comes with the perfect combination of excellent grades, sports, extracurriculars, and countless other activities. However, while pursuing this perfect resume, the majority of students often sacrifice sleep on a near-daily basis. For example, Briana Carter and her team from the Jiann-Ping Hsu College of Public Health, surveyed over 100 undergraduate students and revealed only 8.1% of responding students with rigorous schedules received the necessary 8.5 hours of sleep or more. This act of continually prioritizing academics and extracurriculars above sleep eventually results in sleep deprivation, a condition caused by an inadequate quantity or quality of sleep that has many counterproductive results.
For example, studies surveying students of all levels have shown that students who received less than adequate sleep not only had more difficulty understanding the material taught in class but also had lower GPAs than their more well-rested counterparts. The negative effects of sleep deprivation do not end here, and one’s emotional, mental, and physical well-being can also suffer as a result of it. For instance, sleep deprivation not only acts as a precursor to several conditions, including depression, PTSD, panic disorder, and dementia, but has also been linked to changes in mood, such as suppressed mood, increased confusion and anger, and decreased confidence and vitality. Additionally, teenagers aged 11-16 have an additional 80% increase in their chances of developing obesity with every lost hour of sleep. Worse still, sleep loss has been associated with an increased risk of injuries, accidents, and fatal metabolic and cardiovascular diseases and disorders.
Although staying up late may seem like an easy solution for getting work done, cramming for a test the night before or completing schoolwork until 4 AM will not only ruin one’s sleep schedule for days but can also have detrimental effects on virtually every aspect of one’s life. So relax! One bad test grade is not going to ruin your future. Managing your time, being aware of your limitations, and knowing when to stop and rest is significantly more important and will benefit you more in the long run.