Zzzzz! Study says college students are sleep-deprived

Mommy’s not tucking me into bed anymore, and I’m tired. College moves pretty fast, and before you know it, it’s 6:30 in the morning, you’re still awake, and you have class in two hours.

Unfortunately, hitting the hay early isn’t easy – so many things affect our sleeping patterns, and the college atmosphere makes it difficult to remember all of them.

According to Fitness Magazine, when we’re overtired or stressed out, sleep is harder to come by.

If we watch television before bed, we are unknowingly giving ourselves a jolt. If we drink caffeine within seven hours of bedtime, which is often necessary to finish an assignment, it’s likely to have an effect on us.

And if we work out late at night – sometimes the only time we can – our raised heart rates will make it difficult to sleep.

So, every Monday and Thursday, I stumble out of bed – my hair sticking up, pillow lines on my face – and stagger to the Social Science building.

In a dream-like state, I spend the class staring blankly at the blackboard trying to listen but not really taking anything in.

Apparently, I’m not the only one. The guy in the back of the class is sleeping, and the girl next to him is getting there too.

Clearly, the campus is a graveyard until 11 a.m. every day of the week. And, generally, if anyone’s awake before then, it’s because they haven’t gone to sleep yet.

Go to Eickhoff Dining Hall during peak dinner hours and you can barely hear yourself think – breathe too loudly during breakfast and you’ll be strangled. This is assuming, of course, anybody has the energy to do it.

The truth is, sleeping a few hours a night, as many of us do during the week, doesn’t cut it. William Dement, Ph.D., a professor at Stanford University, in his online article “Sleepless at Stanford” insists that the average college student needs eight hours of sleep and most kids just aren’t getting it.

An on-campus study at Stanford revealed that 80 percent of students, both graduate and undergraduate, were seriously sleep deprived. And it’s not easy to play catch-up.

As the same study concludes, tiredness accumulates. If we need eight hours of sleep a day, we also need 56 hours a week. So, if you were to sleep five hours one night, you’d have to sleep eleven the following evening to make up for it.

But, as many of us have discovered, that isn’t possible.

Dorm life just doesn’t lend itself to nursing home hours. In high school, we’d wake up our parents if we were too loud.

Now, it looks like we’ll wake them up anyway. Loud music, shouting partygoers – even behind closed doors – are the dorm noises that carry for miles.

Or, at least, it seems that way when I’m trying to go to bed Sunday and Wednesday nights.

And, when we don’t sleep, our bodies suffer. James Maas, Ph.D., told Fitness Magazine, “Being tired affects everything – concentration, mood, judgment, coordination.” Furthermore, Maas asserts, it weakens our immune system. In our fatigued state, our bodies are less able to fight off diseases, both non-serious and deadly, he said.

Sociology’s interesting, but it’s not worth dying for!

So, I petition the College: throw away the early morning classes. I’m tired, cranky and not alone – just look at all the droopy eyes and confused expressions. Our beds are calling us so loudly we can’t even hear our professors lecture. “Just a couple more hours, just a couple more hours …”