Students aren’t just losing sleep because of snoring roommates.
At the end of each semester, some students feel the need to study harder for exams and give up sleep to write term papers.
Yet studies have shown that lack of sleep can be more harmful than students know.
Julie Dowis, a registered polysomnographic technologist and a certified repertory therapist from the Covenant Sleep Disorders Center understands that students at this time of the year often put sleep on the backburner.
“Everyone knows what exam week brings,” Dowis said. “Students tend to burn the midnight oil.”
However, Dowis said that sleep is a necessity, especially for college students.
“Sleep is as important as the air we breathe, the water we drink and the food we eat,” Dowis said. “You really need it to survive, and for college students, sleep is vital for retaining information and studying.”
Sarah Devitt, occupational therapy sophomore, said that she agreed that sleeping is essential in a college student’s career.
“I don’t get enough sleep,” Devitt said with a laugh. “But I try to get six to eight hours a night and it really affects the way you retain information and it’s really hard to focus and to pay attention in class.”
Although understanding the need to sleep, Devitt is one of the many students facing exams and term papers.
“I get even less sleep now,” Devitt said. “I’m usually up studying more or writing.”
Chuck Hutchins, art senior, argues that sleep isn’t as vital as others say.
“A Monster (energy drink) on a full stomach equals hours of energy,” he said.
Recently, Hutchins said he stayed awake for 36 hours working on projects.
While not sleeping, Hutchins completed three classes and worked two full shifts at the Marketplace at Doan.
“I felt like crashing about four or five times,” Hutchins said. “But strangely enough, I found that I was actually retaining more, paying attention more and getting plenty done, especially in geography. It basically felt like one very long day.”
While energy drinks and caffeine seemed to be effective for Hutchins, Dowis said that she believes that coffee and caffeinated drinks should only be used in moderation.
“I’m OK with coffee but only as a quick fix,” Dowis said. “It shouldn’t be used continuously and it really gets your heart racing.”
Dowis also said that students driving while exhausted from lack of sleep can be dangerous.
“For the students who are driving home after exams, make sure you get enough sleep beforehand,” Dowis said. “You should drive during the daytime and if you’re driving a long distance, take a break every two hours.”
Dowis said that she understands that not all situations are ideal and sometimes energy drinks are essential.
“If you’re driving and you feel drowsy or tired, grab a coffee or energy drink and pull over in a safe location,” Dowis said. “You can drink your coffee or energy drink and rest for a few minutes, sometimes even take a short 20-minute power nap.”
Some students have even planned ahead in order to get enough sleep.
Kate Nankervis, elementary education sophomore, has a set schedule.
“I actually scheduled myself this semester and it really has helped keep myself awake during the day,” Nankervis said. “I try to get around eight hours of sleep, but I do think some students get too much sleep and feel tired throughout the day.”