Sleep deprivation is one of the terrible epidemics of the modern era.
Its effects are pernicious and wide-ranging: Sleep insufficiency, the clinical term for the condition, is implicated in memory loss, concentration difficulties, mood disorders and even obesity, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“Sleep is increasingly recognized as important to public health, with sleep insufficiency linked to motor vehicle crashes, industrial disasters and medical and other occupational errors,” the CDC reported.
Recent studies have shown that nearly 70 million U.S. adults suffer from some form of sleep disorder. The CDC recommends between seven to eight hours of sleep per night, but more than 40 percent of adults between the ages of 18 and 49 achieve fewer than six hours of sleep per night; and a similar number report that they would “feel better” with more sleep, according to a 2013 Gallup poll.
This number jumps among college students, where more than 60 percent fail to achieve adequate sleep, according to a study by the University of Alabama.
Poor sleep patterns were indicated in poorer grades, binge drinking and even dropout rates, according to a similar study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine.
“Results show that sleep timing and maintenance problems in college students are a strong predictor of academic problems, even after controlling for other factors that contribute to academic success, such as clinical depression, feeling isolated and diagnosis with a learning disability or chronic health issue. The study also found that sleep problems have about the same impact on grade point average as binge drinking and marijuana use,” according to the study.
So get some sleep!
In the immortal words of Bill Murray: You perform at your best when you’re relaxed.
“You have to remind yourself that you can do the very best you can when you’re very, very relaxed, no matter what it is, whatever your job is. The more relaxed you are, the better you are,” he said.
You can’t relax if you’re constantly exhausted from juggling school, work, internships and a social life. Take a break! Kick back! Watch Netflix and eat ice cream and be lazy.
It may not save your life, but it sure might improve it.