Do you ever feel sad or depressed even though you know there’s no reason to be feeling that way? Are you having trouble remembering the little things, like where you placed your phone? Or maybe you’re having trouble focusing in class. Well, according to psychologist and sleep expert David F. Dinges, Ph.D., from the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine, these are the signs of the sleep-deprived.
In a college community, it is normal to have inadequate sleeping patterns—with late night studying and working on last-minute assignments, creeping on social media, binge-watching favorite TV shows, and the “Turn down for Whats,” we’re bound to have inadequate sleep. Yes, many of us don’t mind the late-night activities we like to do, but the lack of sleep can cause serious problems that can slowly lead to us turning into a zombie.
Yes, you read that right. A lack of sleep brings loss of focus, apathy, impaired thinking and reasoning, depression, a weak immune system, and many other horrible side effects—many of which are zombie-like attributes. But fear not! These symptoms have an easy cure if you know how to right habits to blend into your day.
- Set a Sleeping Schedule
Plan to be in bed at a certain time. If there’s class the next morning at 9AM (depending on how long it takes you to get ready for class), plan on hitting the hay earlier than usual the day before to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep.
- Don’t Procrastinate
All-nighters are not the best solution; most people who skimp on shut-eye feel fairly rough the next day and have trouble concentrating. Make an attempt to plan ahead and start setting deadlines a couple days prior to due dates, break tasks down to smaller tasks, or try getting help from others. It’s a relief knowing there’s less to finish right before the assignment is due.
Working out is beneficial when we need “lights out” to work. According to scientists at Northwestern University, exercise improves sleep quality, reduces depressive moods, and gives people a boost of energy for the day. So go ahead, use the RAC fee to its fullest and start feeling great!
- Restful sleep
A good night’s sleep requires a peaceful, quiet environment. Trying to sleep with major distractions like the bright and loud TV or a brightly lit cell phone will most likely leave you feeling sleepy and unrested the next day. The best solution to get a good night’s rest is turning off all distracting objects before bedtime. It is simpler said than done, but it is best for health’s sake!
- Limit Caffeine
Picking up a beverage before bed? Be selective – it is advised to avoid drinking caffeinated drinks at least six hours before bedtime. “Caffeine” triggers thoughts of mochas, lattes, coffee, and espresso. However, many dark-colored sodas, tea, and energy drinks contain caffeine too. Opting for caffeine-free drinks, or at least limiting caffeinated drinks after noon, will aid in getting a great night’s sleep.
These are only a handful of ways to improve sleeping patterns. On Wednesday, January 28th, Health Services will be hosting an event called “The Walking Dead” in the Russell Union from 11 AM-1 PM to alert us of the dangers of sleep deprivation and tricks we can use to get more slumber amid our busy lives. So if you happen to be walking near the RU, swing by to learn how you can go from being “The Walking Dead” to becoming fully-rested survivors!