Without sleep, your long hours of studying will not be retained

By Krista Brooks

Monday, December 11, 2012 – The Daily 49er

Never underestimate the power of sleep. Most of us have altered our sleeping patterns drastically to accommodate our strenuous studying for finals and finishing the work we put off until the very end. Good news is, it’s finally almost over.

Before the big celebration you may have planned, catch up on sleep with a long power nap or a well-needed eight hours. Americans are typically sleep-deprived while only sleeping six hours at most each night. This puts us at risk of health and cognitive problems.

Without enough sleep, we are prone to making bad decisions, loss of memory and chronic fatigue. Growth hormones are produced while we are sleeping to build or repair tissue to restore our bodies each night. The chemical reactions that occur with less sleep can lead to heart disease, stroke, diabetes, obesity, lowered IQ and depression.

When our bodies are sleep deprived, we have increased appetites and are likely to overeat. The feeling of fullness in women, hormone GLP-1, is reduced with less sleep; and the hunger-stimulating hormone in men, ghrelin, increases with up to only four hours of sleep. We become hungry the following day because our ability to process food is altered without appropriate sleep.

Sleep can reduce pain sensitivity better than painkillers when over eight hours are achieved. With less sleep, bacteria and virus fighting antibodies are produced at dramatically lower rates.

Some of us will return home from our last final and immediately hit the hay. Others may find trouble sleeping with all the stress lingering from the semester. After finals were over last semester, I could not sleep for more than four hours without waking suddenly from dreams about missing a test or putting a wrong answer. This year is going to be different.

Without sleep, we cannot function properly or utilize our full potential. To help aid sleep without medication, drink a cup of chamomile or mulberry tea an hour before sleep.

Thanks to certain vitamins and minerals, different foods can help the sleeping process. Fish and chickpeas contain high levels of vitamin B6 that is essential to produce melatonin, the chemical that regulates our sleep cycle. Fish also contains magnesium, which is a mineral that allows our bodies to unwind naturally and relax muscles. Whole grains also ensure that your body is plenty with magnesium. Calcium is key to manufacture melatonin, and also combines with magnesium to remove restlessness from our sleep. Milk, yogurt, kale and jasmine rice are all foods to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Going to bed earlier can also improve your sleeping. Exercise, stretching and meditation with deep breathing can clear your mind and relieve stress to help fall into dreamland.

Be sure to get some sleep in between finals and after they are through. To absorb all the studying you have immersed in this week, sleep eight hours before your hardest final, rested and aware. Sleep can be your worst enemy during deadlines, but will be your best friend to retain information, eat less, and improve your mood and performance overall.

Krista Brooks is a junior journalism major and the assistant opinions editor for the Daily 49er.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: