Students risk health problems through lack of sleep

Exercise science major Kylie Mascol has to find time for sleep between playing varsity soccer for the Broncos and being a full- time student with a job.

“Sleeping has taken a backseat in my life, which really makes me wish I was in kindergarten again because I would definitely not argue with nap time anymore,” Mascol said.

Sleep depravation is defined as a conscious disregard for sleep and is very different from insomnia, which is the inability to fall asleep or stay asleep.

Dr. Vincent Serio, director of Medical Services at Boise State and practicing physician, said college students should aim to get six to nine hours of sleep per night. Dr. Serio mentioned among the many side effects of a lack of sleep, changes in mood take precedence.

“Some people might lack the insight that their sleep problem is linked to a mental health issue,” Dr. Serio said.

Medical News Today stated that 68 percent of students don’t sleep at night due to worrying about the stresses surrounding school and life. Even further, the Journal for Adolescent Health studied the sleep patterns of adolescents and found, “only 30 percent of students sleep at least eight hours a night—the average requirement for young adults.”

Dr. Serio said “acute sleep depravation” can cause symptoms ranging from a change in moods to a lack of cognitive functioning to a compromised immune system, which can lead to an increased risk of getting sick.

“Some of these ‘minor’ things can happen with an acute lack of sleep or even just less than the six to nine hours of sleep,” Dr. Serio said. “With chronic sleep deprivation (someone who doesn’t sleep for a number of days) you can have hallucinations, emotional break downs, etc.”

Dr. Serio mentioned there have been studies in which scientists keep lab rats up for three to four days.

“They can just die from sleep depravation. Obviously, no one has done the study using humans,” Dr. Serio said.

Technology  plays a huge role in the sleep patterns college students hold.

Mascol admitted  Candy Crush is a huge culprit when it comes to her lack of sleep.

“How can you stop playing when you just keep beating levels? It takes priority,” Mascol said. “Just kidding. Kind of.”

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