Thursday, December 11, 2008

Are You Getting Enough Sleep?

It's finals time again and the stress levels are up (well, not for this guy). It's time to pull all nighters and make the library home for the next week. Sleep is pushed to the back burner and 4 hours becomes a "good" night. Most students don't think twice about this and figure the massive amounts of studying will help them get good grades. Well, the truth is it's just not worth it.

Sleep is important for the body and even though you may be cramming hours of knowledge into your brain when people like me are in the middle of a great dream, (a dream where I reach a PR lift while being watched by all the girlies and then laugh at the scrawny, frat boy posing in the mirror) you're probably not retaining as much as you possibly could. Sleep is important for the physical as well as the mental aspects of the body. Let's take a break from your late night rendezvous with chemistry and look at the effects of sleep on the body.

Growth and Restoration
The secretion of growth hormone reaches its peak in deep sleep
Blood supply to the muscles increases
Metabolic activity is at its lowest, which is optimal for tissue repair

Immune Function:
Sleep deprivation makes you more acceptable to colds and infections

Memory Storage and Retention
It is during REM sleep that the growth phase of specialized neural connections to physical memories takes place in the brain
If your sleep is disturbed, then you are less likely to preserve newly obtained knowledge in your long- term memory

The effects of a lack of sleep are both detrimental to the physical body as well as the mental body, so even though you may have a week of impossible exams, make sure that your sleep is not being sacrificed because honestly, your cram sessions could just be a waste (not to mention your physical goals will be placed out of reach).

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