Overcome Sleep Deprivation

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Isiah Reyes, El Vaquero Staff Writer
March 1, 2012
Filed under Opinion

College students have a lot to juggle in their lives, from studying for school and working to pay bills to trying to lead a healthy social life. So how can students find the time to get a good night’s sleep?

Sleep deprivation is a serious issue, yet many people are not aware of the effects that can come from not sleeping enough. Some include increased blood pressure, aching muscles and changes in weight, as well as lack of concentration.

Glendale College psychology professor Daphne Dionisio lectures on the topic of sleep and the stages of sleep. She said prescribed medications like Lunesta and Ambien belong to a class of drug called benzodiazepines, and it is known that when these medications are taken for more than several weeks, they lead to an increase in physical tolerance requiring higher dosages in order to get the original effect.

If the person suddenly stops taking the medication, it will cause withdrawal symptoms and lead to physical dependence. So the lack of sleep could result from an addiction to drugs.

There are many possible causes of sleep deprivation, such as drinking caffeinated drinks late in the evening, excessive late-night sensory stimulation including television and music, and too much stress.

Doing too many things just before going to bed makes it hard for the body to relax and wind down.

But of course, the life of a college student isn’t complete until they’ve pulled an all-nighter the night before a be-all end-all exam. They’ll cram all the notes into their brain while downing energy drinks to try to stay awake. They’ll be so tired the next day they probably won’t even make the class on time.

This lack of sleep could lead to people doing things in their slumber they aren’t aware of, such as driving. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found that each year drowsy driving is responsible for at least 100,000 automobile crashes, 71,000 injuries, and 1,550 fatalities.

Here’s what can be done to avoid sleep deprivation:

If you plan on getting hyped up on caffeine from taking No Doz caffeine pills or something similar, watch the dosage. Taking too many can lead to accelerated heart rates.

Learn how to manage your schedule. A lot of free time can be found from taking the trivial things out of life. Do you really need to watch five television shows a day? If you need extra hours to study or socialize, don’t take it away from sleep. Take it away from things that can be done the next day.

Also, learn to combine different items on the to-do list together. Instead of twiddling your thumbs at the Laundromat and watching your clothes tumbling during the spin cycle, you could probably take some of that time to look over notes for that biology exam coming around the corner.

One of the most difficult causes of sleep deprivation to overcome is dealing with stress. If you know you have something demanding to do the next day, like a final exam, it can keep you awake all night long.
Reading a peaceful book should get your mind thinking about something else and ease you into sleep.

It’s also important to exercise during the day and sleep at the same time every night.

So where can you find the time to get a good night’s sleep? With a little bit of proper time management and staying away from caffeine and sensory stimulation late in the evening, you’ll be snoozing in la-la-land in no time.

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