“Why Don’t College Students Sleep?”

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Sandra Elien

Sleep is necessary after a long day of grueling classes and extracurricular activities. From a scientific standpoint, the human body requires that the muscles relax and become irresponsive to one’s surroundings.  This is an essential process so that the general condition of the human body is maintained. Sleep is conducive to the body’s maintenance because it is during sleep that tissues are repaired and growth occurs. But what does sleep have to do with college students, especially on this campus?

College students are often perceived to be the most susceptible group where sleep deprivation is concerned. College students are recognized for not getting enough sleep. Having a part time job, being a part of a sports team and the demands of one’s academic schedule are among a variety of reasons as to why college students are not getting enough sleep. And why does sleep appear to be a major issue in the classroom?

Students as well as faculty members have contended with the problems that a lack of sleep has created on the C.W. Post Campus. Lourdes Noguera, a Liberals Arts major, said that the possible reason as to why students fall asleep in class is that they’re “tired [and] not getting enough sleep due to studying.” Noguera also added that she has personally never fallen asleep in class before. However other students differ on this tentative explanation for students that fall asleep in class.  Danielle Nash, a History major said that “one of the reasons students fall asleep in class is because of different schedules from high school and lack of routine sleeping habits.” Nash has also admitted to falling victim to this growing epidemic on campus. She said that although the “teacher was great [for] the first week of biology,” she fell asleep in class. She added that “it was really early and it was pretty much a 2 hour and 50 minute class.”

In addition to not getting enough sleep and taking classes of considerable duration, during a lecture in psychosomatics you have probably learned that “the more sleep [a person gets] the better off [he or she is].” And that “sleep is a basic need and without sleep a person is more likely to contract diseases.” Although this sheds light on the necessity of sleep, another professor felt that sleep deprivation was based on which academic standing, a student belonged to. Dr. Joel Mittler, from the College of Education Information Sciences, informed The Pioneer that “many undergraduate students stay up really late and graduate students have families to take care of and are just at work all day. Some have husbands [and] wives [or] children of their own.” Sleep deprivation does not affect the entire campus community in that it mostly has to do with “different time of life.”

In an effort to analyze all the possible factors that are conducive to sleep, other factors must be considered. For example, what about a student with responsibilities other than the ones mentioned? How do they play a part in this growing concerning on campus? What about stress? This refutes any theories based on the nature of sleep and why it may occur. This is due to the fact that sleep is an individually based phenomenon. A person cannot measure the effects of sleep on a student only on the basis of activity. For example, an athlete’s body in comparison to another student, who is not athletic, may have stronger physical agility and stamina. Therefore, the speculative theory that sleep is mostly not occurring on a college campus because of a part time job, being a part of a sports team and meeting the demands of one’s academic schedule is not accurate. This information obtained about sleep only provides a partial view about the ways in which sleep deprivation is prevalent on this campus.  However, if you do feel the need to sleep in or fall asleep during a lecture, please take a step outside the classroom to relieve your drowsiness. As it may be a sign of lack of respect and courtesy for the professor.

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