The Weekend: Starting to Feel Under the Weather
After a night of partying, it’s time to go on a mini shopping spree. No, collegiettes™, I’m not talking about makeup and shoes. Instead, you’re heading to your nearest convenient store to pick up a lot of tissues and cough drops. What gives? You were just fine a few days ago! Consistently pulling all-nighters weakens our immune systems and can leave us feeling too sick to get work done. “These immune system imbalances usually first show up as a sniffle, a cough, or a scratchy throat,” says Greene. While we can totally handle these ailments, the effects can end up being more than a runny nose. “People who sleep deprive themselves are making themselves more vulnerable to colds and upper respiratory tract infections,” says Abaluck. With to-do lists almost as long as term papers, the last thing we need is a sick day! Even if you don’t have a cold, that all-nighter could be impacting your body in other ways. “I feel dizzy and nauseous during the day,” says Vivian. Apparently, eight hours a day also keeps the doctor away!
Monday at 8 AM: A Less-than- Perfect Score
You’re feeing pretty relaxed as your professor hands back all of the exams. Since you stayed up all night studying, you’re expecting to receive a stellar grade. But your smile turns upside down when you take one look at your test. You spent all night studying, what went wrong? The culprit is your sleep deprivation! Researchers at Brown University Medical School discovered that there’s a correlation between the amount of sleep you get and your grades: students who get an insufficient amount of sleep usually receive lower grades than those who sleep more. What’s the point of studying all night if you won’t get the grade that you want?
The effects from pulling all-nighters will go away soon, right? Wrong, collegiettes! Chronic sleep deprivation can leave us with many startling long-term side effects:
- High blood pressure
- Heart attack
- Heart failure
- Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD)
- Depression and other mood disorders
The scariest side effect of untreated chronic sleep deprivation is death. While little research has been done on this subject- the potential results are way too extreme- sleep disorder professionals have information that implies chronic sleep deprivation results in our bodies shutting down for good. If that’s not a wake-up call (no pun intended) I don’t know what is!
Although we are very busy collegiettes, our wellbeing needs to come first. Since everyone is different, we all need a different amount of sleep. “The easiest way for any one person to know how much sleep they need is to give themselves an unlimited opportunity to sleep over several days,” says Abaluck. “See how much time you sleep, you may be surprised!” Just remember to give your body the TLC it needs. Sweet dreams, collegiettes!
Vivian, Sophomore at Boston University
Dr. Brian Abaluck , Sleep Doctor at Sleep Health Center
Dr. Debra Greene, Energy Health Specialist