Rest your eyes to rest your brain

As a college student, finally getting into the thicket of the spring semester, you find yourself slowly sinking back into your stressful routine. Deadlines are approaching quickly, and there simply aren’t enough hours in the day — you need the hours of the night as well. Your immediate response is to compromise your sleep in order to complete the multitude of tasks that tower before you.

However, do not be so quick to assume that the benefits will outweigh thecostsof these late nights. In fact, sleepless nights will ultimately be highly detrimental to your overall academic performance. Not only does your body need sleep, your brain does too. This statement might not be enough to convince you of sleep’s necessity. Or, you may just think that you are immune to the effects of sleep deprivation and feel that you’re fully functional on a mere four hours of sleep. Rather than listing the side-effects of lack of sleep, here are a few signs that are clear indicators that you do in fact need to sleep more.

You’re not hungry for lunch or dinner. Sleep deficiency can result in a lack of appetite at the appropriate designated meal times. Irregular sleep patterns interfere with your internal clock, causing you to either be too hungry or not hungry at all. This explains why staying up late can either make you gain or lose a noticeable amount of weight.

Spending a little more time counting sheep could improve your overall health and mood. (AP Photo)

You can’t remember where you put your phone or your keys. A lack of sleep takes a major toll on your short-term memory. Your brain utilizes sleep as a means of refreshing and regenerating itself. Forgetful tendencies are the direct result of sleep deprivation, along with a diminished sense of alertness.

You can’t carry a conversation. If you find yourself reminiscing about your once quick wit or searching for your lost sense of humor, know that their absence is due to a lack of adequate shut eye. Your brain won’t be operating anywhere near its prime if you haven’t allotted it enough down time.

You feel sick, despite your stellar immune system. Sleep deficiency compromises your immune system. This is because your immune system repairs and strengthens itself while you snooze.

You’re exceptionally emotional. While a well-rested, healthy individual isn’t apathetic, those who tend to forego the recommended amount of sleep find themselves to be overly emotional. In fact, a study done in 2007 found that sleep deprived brains are 60 percent more reactive to negative and disturbing images.

Find yourself exhibiting one or all of these signs? Get more sleep. Staying up undoubtedly does more harm than good. Chances are that your tired brain won’t be able to retain all the information you stayed up cramming, and in addition, won’t be able to recall and apply the information you already knew. In order to rest your brain, be sure to rest your eyes for a minimum of six to eight hours a night.