Sleep well friends,
Another term is upon us…I don’t have anything endearing to follow up with that. Honestly, it’s a mundane time in winter. Whether you are getting back into the swing of school like myself, or are clinging onto the last bit of break, it kinda sucks for us all. Not in a complete downward spiral of depression, but currently my world of sports is sort of blah. The Ducks failed to take the national championship, the Sacramento Kings are struggling to gain momentum (to put it kindly) and I personally won’t be running another race for 40+ days. But don’t let my lackluster emotions on this time of the year ruin your new ambitious start though.
The calendar is young and still full of promise. I hope many of you are still pursuing you New Years resolutions ie: avoiding gluten, drinking green stuff and trying to get to the gym more. Personally, I am working to limit my social networking time. Though I tell myself the hours I spend flipping through my apps is for “journalistic research,” deep down I know thats crap. Another goal that I have set and I think you will enjoy, more so than eating raw kale, is to get better sleep. While our daily lives and schedules may vary greatly, an incredibly healthful practice of proper sleep can help all of us achieve other tasks that we have set for 2015.
The knowledge which I will bestow upon to you has all been from my conclusive research and should only be considered as professional and biased as you know me to be.
Sleep is the number one thing, apart from lower tuition, that college students really need. Yes, I know I’m not the first person to tell you that you should try and get 8 hours a night, but I might be the first person to side with you in agreeing that 8 hours is hard to obtain! Don’t the damned scientists of Whatever Institution realize that active students have serious problems putting stressful thoughts of exams, papers and money issues out of our heads to shut down for one-third of our day? Not to mention the large amount of students nationwide that lose sleep while choosing to party into wee morning hours of the weekend mornings instead of turning in early.
Also, shout out to fellow Netflix addicts who turn up by hitting “play next episode” button instead of hitting the bottle.
Now don’t start thinking that I am anti-sleep. I love sleep. Sleep and I would be married but she says I’m too clingy. I just want to share some facts that will hopefully lead you to a better nights rest and in turn; more productive days.
The National Sleep Foundation states that most healthy adults, yes that includes you 18 y/o, need 7 to 9 hours of sleep to properly function throughout the day. This is where the magical number of 8 comes in. Although, there are outliers an hour both ways on the line, most of us need around 8 to function. I’ve always been envious of people who can power through the day with only 6 hours of sleep because there are so many productive things I could be doing with that time…Like watching more documentaries on Netflix…but I digress.
1 more hour might not seem like a lot but the advantage is really ridiculous when comparing both extremities of one person needing 10 hours to feel normal while another only needs 6. That is 1/6th more of the day that the second person has to be in their waking state. Do a little more math and those 4 hours turn into 1460 a year, divide that by 24 and we now see that people who only sleep 6 hours a day are awake nearly 61 more days a year than the people who need 10. Feeling a little short changed?
Interestingly enough, most mammals (85% according to the NSF) are polyphasic sleepers, which means that they sleep multiple times for shorter periods throughout the day. Wolves probably have the coolest patterns of rest. Sleeping 5 to 10 minutes at different times throughout the entire day. They take turns staying awake to watch over the others so that the pack can be on the move and only stop for brief periods of time.
There are many stories and threads floating around Reddit that talk about how Kobe Bryant is on a polyphasic 2×2 hour sleeping schedule (2 hours of sleep/ 2 hours awake followed by 2 more hours of sleep before starting the day) which allows him to do very intensive training. I can’t verify these claims mostly because reading too much into the Lakers aggravates me (Go Kings.) There is debate though, that this is a more natural form of human sleep pattern but I don’t recommend trying to switch over now.
It would be sweet to get all of our needed REM from ducking under a tree in between passing periods, but our bodies are not built like wolves.(Shut up Taylor Lautner) We humans fall into the minority that are monophasic (sleep during one part of the day/ awake during the other). While a good 10-15 minute nap can help improve productivity, alertness and mood it WILL NOT make up for lost hours of sleep. Also, naps that last too long can be detrimental to a person’s health resulting in grogginess or throwing off regular sleeping hours.
Fortunately for me, the countless Saturdays I spent at track meets naturalized my body to take sleep wherever I could find it. Bus floors, bleachers and even once atop a press box have all allowed me short time to grab some rest before running in circles.
A healthy way that I have personally found to be beneficial while preparing for an evening class is to try and nap for around 13 minutes with at least half an hour to spare before class begins, then drink a caffeinated beverage before or at the beginning of the lecture. I shouldn’t need to point out being careful about drinking caffeine in the evening but I still will. DON’T DOWN A FIVE HOUR ENERGY AT 7 P.M. AND WONDER WHY YOU CAN’T SLEEP DINGUS.
Something that you can easily do throughout the day to help you get a good nights rest is to exercise regularly. Many studies show that people who exercise not only get to sleep quicker at night but also wake up less during this time.
While we are on the topic of sleep depth it is important to state that alcohol CAN help you get to sleep quicker but WILL MESS with your sleep cycle and leave you feeling unrested the next morning…which in turn can help the hangover monster grow.
I will finish this piece with some simple knowledge from a fellow struggler of the system: Try to eat well. Don’t drink mass amounts of caffeine. Exercise a bit. Have fun in college but make smart choices. Finally, PLEASE remember that your favorite series will still be on your instant queue later this week, your morning lab on the other hand, only airs once.