A typical college experience is plagued with exciting social events, massive amounts of assignments, lectures, and sports. However, when paired with the excessive consumption of coffee, late-night fast food runs, or all-nighter studying sessions, college students constantly face the reality of a never-ending lack of sleep. On average, Americans get 6.8 hours of sleep every night while college students average between 6 to 6.9 hours. Cleveland Clinic also found that roughly 60 million Americans suffer from mild insomnia.
Sleep is essential for well-being, and losing it can be detrimental to all aspects of health. Professor of neuroscience and psychology Matthew Walker found that without eight hours of sleep, individuals are 40% less able to create and store new memories. His research also discovered that individuals limited to four hours of sleep saw a 70% drop in natural killer cell activity – an essential immune system activity that destroys cancerous cells. Being sleep-deprived for weeks is also correlated with an alarming 48% increased risk of developing heart disease and a 15% increased risk of getting a stroke.
In short, the long term risks of sleep deprivation are harmful to a person’s health and well being. To live long-lasting lives, one should not hesitate to appease nature’s call for a good night’s sleep. Having regular sleep and wake up times, dieting and exercising well, and saying no to a night out with friends every once in a while can go a long way in allowing the body do its natural, reparative job.