Blog of the Peer Advising Leadership Program, College of Natural Resources, UC Berkeley

October 4, 2010 2:40 PM

Why Sleep?

Do you ever get the feeling that there is just not enough time in a day for all the things you're trying to do? Especially during midterm season, right? Instead of sleeping we might as well be studying. Well, before breaking out the caffeine shots and prepare for the all-nighters, here me out!

In the psychology class (Psych 2) I'm taking, there was a lecture on the "Science of Sleep". We learned that sleep is the natural phenomenon when we conserve energy. However, the benefits are more than just meets the eye:
Memory: A full nights rest will increase both declarative memory (recall) and procedural memory (skills). Studies have been done where sleeping has been shown to improve test taking capabilities.
General Health: When you are sleeping, your body is constantly at working to restore your body to the best condition. Cell repairs are made from damage that has accumulated from free radicals. The immune system also increases the amount of white blood cells that are circulating in the body. Getting enough sleep will decrease the risk of contracting diseases.
Alertness: Waking up from a good sleep helps increase awareness and allows you to function better. You will definitely have an advantage over the jittery student hopped up on caffeine.
Stress: "Just sleep on it." Instead of worrying and stressing about things. Use sleep as a way to clear your mind and relax. By the time you wake up, you should be able to have a clear head to work through all your problems.

Now in order to get all the benefits listed above and more. A typical college student should be sleeping between 7-10 hours. Even with that much sleep, it doesn't hurt to take a midday nap on Memorial Glade. Without the right amount of sleep, there are severe limitations in attention, memory, health, mood/personality, and overall functional capabilities. These deficits set in after 16 hours without sleep. 21 hours without sleep is equivalent to having a 0.08 BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration).

Aside from all the "hidden" advantages of sleep, sleeping is just plain fun. Theres no better way than to start your day, refreshed and feeling good about life.

Stephen Chen | Permalink | Comment on this article | Comments (0)

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