Sleep stigma inhibits students

Brittney Christ

Got sleep?

The fall semester has officially started, and soon enough, the sleep deprivation will set in. Thus, we will all become sleep zombies that drink copious amounts of caffeine in order to stay awake through that night class. It is widely known that college students everywhere love to nap and catch a few z’s after they play some beer pong during midterms.

However, there is a huge sleep stigma surrounding young adults. Parents hound their college students about the fact that they are no longer teenagers, and now that they are adults, they should not be sleeping in and should be working 60+ hours a week just like their parents.

This leads young adults to sleep deprivation that is not necessarily self-inflicted, but it is a learned behavior. It is not all of the parents’ fault. There is a sleep stigma surrounding college students among their peers as well.

If I had a dollar for every time I overheard two students comparing how much sleep they got last night, and how tired they are after “staying up until 2 a.m.,” I would never need to work again.

How many hours we sleep at night has become a competition between one another. If someone else in your group project got an extra thirty minutes of sleep, you shove all of the work on them that day. We naturally assume that the more sleep we have, the better we are able to function. Which, in truth, is scientifically proven. However, the problem is that we use a lack of sleep as a crutch.

“Oh, I’m so sorry I forgot to use punctuation in my story. I was up until 3 a.m. until I couldn’t take it any more, and then I got up at 6 for work.” – Average Excuse

We do not get enough sleep because of society’s standards for how a young adult should be functioning, and on top of that, college students regularly don’t sleep (and stay up gaming, partying or binge-watching Netflix) in order to use a lack of sleep as an excuse for slacking off, or turning in an assignment late.

Sleep is vital to our functioning, so why don’t we break free from our peer pressure and societal standards and actually get some sleep?

Sleep is just as important to our well-being as eating and drinking plenty of water. However, millions of people (not just college students) are not catching their z’s at night. At a minimum, you should be getting 7+ hours of sleep per night, not per week.

The National Sleep Foundation unveiled the hard facts that “at least 40 million Americans suffer from over 70 different sleep disorders.” On the flip side, getting enough sleep leads to increased memory, a longer life, increased creativity, increased attention and focus, decreased inflammation, lower stress, decreased risk of depression, and so much more.

According to Business Insider, “you may use stimulants to compensate, but that isn’t sustainable. In the long run, your health will fall apart. The goal needs to be long-term sustainability.”

The moral of the story is: get some sleep. Focus on you. Start juicing. Meditate in the morning, or at night. Just do whatever will get you through this next semester. But whatever you do, get some sleep.

This is the beginning of the semester, so make these next few months count.