friday, march 4, 2011
news editor melissa erny
Cutting sleep for extra time bad for health By Amanda Bradford associate news editor
Studies show that students are skimping on a basic necessity for survival: sleep. According to the American Sleep Association, more than 40 million Americans suffer from long-term sleep disorders, and college students are no exception. Seventy percent of college students receive less than the eight hours of sleep each night recommended by health officials, according to a study conducted at the University of St. Thomas. The study found that 68 percent of the 1,125 students participating had trouble falling asleep as a result of academic and emotional stress. The study also found stress has a much more significant impact on sleep quality than other influences like alcohol consumption and staying up late at night on the computer or playing video games. “Getting a good night of sleep is extremely important,” Cheryl Kabeli, an anesthesiologist at CVPH, said. Kabeli recommends students get somewhere between eight and 10 hours of sleep per night. “It’s a vicious cycle,” Kabeli said. “Not sleeping causes you more stress, causes
“It’s a vicious cycle. Not sleeping causes you more stress, causes more problems, and you still can’t sleep.” Cheryl Kabeli CVPH Anesthesiologist
Photo Illustration by Gabe Dickens/Cardinal Points CVPH anesthesiologist Cheryl Kabeli suggests activities for students to do to help them sleep at night. She believes students should get eight to 10 hours of sleep a night.
more problems and you still can’t sleep.” Sleep deprivation affects a person’s mental and physical health. Short-term effects of sleep deprivation include headaches, difficulty focusing, irritability and mood changes, Kabeli said. In addition to irritability and exhaustion, a study conducted at the University
of Warwick reported sleep deprivation produces hormones and chemicals in the body that increase the risk of developing heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes and obesity. It also puts a person at greater risk for having a stroke. Plattsburgh State student Katherine Nytz acknowledg-
es the importance of getting at least eight hours of sleep per night and how it can affect her if she doesn’t get it. “I’m very miserable without it,” Nytz said. Good sleep-hygiene means doing activities at night to prepare students for sleep. This means students shouldn’t watch television, drink alcohol or take
prescription drugs before going to bed. Instead, they should do their homework or read a book, something relaxing that doesn’t require a lot of mental stimulation. The National Sleep Foundation suggests creating a sleep-conducive environment that is dark, quiet and cool to promote a healthy
sleep cycle. In addition, they suggest not eating three hours before going to sleep, avoiding the consumption of caffeine and nicotine, and exercising regularly. They also said that if falling asleep is proving difficult, don’t just lie in bed. According to the American Sleep Association, if you can’t fall asleep, doing an activity like reading or listening to music is more effective than lying in bed, trying to fall asleep. This is because the anxiety of focusing on not being able to fall asleep can contribute to insomnia. People often look for ways to use time from basic habits for other activities that they want to do. However, studies have clearly shown that trading hours supposed to be spent on sleeping for more free time isn’t a solution optimal for a person’s health.
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