Sleepless In College – How Sleep Deprivation Affects Performance And Safety

According to medical studies, a person should have between 7 to 9 hours of sleep each night. This is ideal and it ensures that the individual will be able to function efficiently. Sadly, this isn’t the case with most college students. There are several reasons why young people in universities aren’t getting the amount of sleep that they need. They could still be adjusting to dorm life or to having a roommate, or they could be busy with their research papers, exams or extra-curricular activities. Of course, some stay up late because of parties. With everything that goes on in college, a young student might think that just getting four to five hours of sleep is enough.

Sleepless In College – How Sleep Deprivation Affects Performance And Safety

After all, there are more important things than sleeping, right? Wrong. Experts have concluded that lack of sleep does have detrimental effects to health and safety.

Lack of sleep has detrimental effects on health

Lack of sleep has detrimental effects on health

Detrimental Effects of Sleep Deprivation

1. Reduction of Cognitive Function

Students and even adults who continue to deprive themselves of sleep, meaning that they’re getting less than 7 hours of sleep each night, will experience cognitive problems. It becomes more difficult for them to concentrate or understand certain tasks or concepts, leading to poorer academic performance, confusion, and, for some, hallucinations.

2. Volatile Disposition

Being sleepless also affects a person’s frame of mind and his emotions as well. Depression is a common result of lack of sleep, and so are irritability and anxiety.

3. Poor Health

Although it is not as important as food, water and oxygen, sleep is also something that humans cannot do without. Being sleep deprived can result in a number of health problems, like high blood pressure and decreased antibodies that makes a person prone to infections. Some also become more resistant to insulin, which makes them at risk for Type 2 diabetes.

How Sleep Deprivation Affects Teen Safety

Some say that a drowsy driver is as dangerous as (or even more dangerous than) an intoxicated driver. This is very true. In fact, being sleepless for 18 hours is the same as having a BAC of 0.05%, which is near the legal limit. A college student, or any person for that matter, who falls asleep behind the wheel endangers other drivers. He could also injure pedestrians and cause damage to property in case of an accident. Also, once a youngster gets involved in a bad road incident because of drowsy driving, he will have to face the legal consequences of his actions, which might include paying fines, being sent to a detention facility, finishing a court-appointed course, or spending time in jail. His experiences will affect his life and his future.

Are You Driving Drowsy?

One way to avoid road accidents or car collisions is to be a more responsible driver. For a teen, this does not only pertain to possessing impressive driving abilities. This also means understanding the signs of sleep deprivation. If he knows that he is too sleepy to drive, then he should never do so. Other signs to watch out for are: very heavy eyelids; drifting from one’s lane; not being able to recall the distance traveled; or missing an exit, among others./ph5

This article was contributed by Claire Taylor, a full-time freelancer who often writes about car safety. She also blogs about car accidents and personal injury, and some of her write-ups about such issues have been used by Tad Nelson & Associates

cc licensed ( BY ND ) flickr photo shared by ximena

Author: SmartStudent

SmartStudent is an educational portal that provides information & advice to aspiring students. regarding applying to university, choosing a course, what to take to university, finding student accommodation and much more.

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