But First...Coffee

I’m sure that most people enjoy drinking coffee or tea, especially as the colder weather approaches. My friend and I enjoy grabbing drinks from Starbucks to help keep us awake during our one and a half hour lecture. My friend will grab a venti caramel macchiato, while I grab a venti iced chai tea latte. With exams coming around, a lot of people will turn to coffee in order to keep them awake. I remember one time, in October, my friend and I grabbed a venti caramel macchiato at 7 P.M. and then headed to the library to study for our psych midterm. It tasted good as I drank it, but the after effects were disastrous – my body was unaccustomed to consuming that much caffeine late at night, leaving me unable to fall asleep until three-thirty A.M! I certainly won’t be doing that again anytime soon! While coffee stimulates our brain, allowing us to gain energy and be able to focus, coffee (and tea) contain caffeine, which is a drug. If you drink too much, it can lead to headaches, jitteriness, and insomnia.

In high school, I used to go to sleep around 10:30 and my friends would constantly tease me about how early I would go to sleep. They would tell me that, “sleep is for the weak”, and while you may agree with that statement, I do not. I understand that sometimes we must sacrifice sleep in order to get work done, but this should not become a habit because not getting enough sleep can be detrimental to your health.

Why We Need Sleep

We need to prioritize sleep because it is beneficial to our overall well-being. Sleep is important because it is a period of recovery where our brain cleanses itself by removing toxins and waste proteins. When you sleep your body repairs itself – muscles, organs and other cells - and fixes any injuries you may have. By getting enough sleep, you will feel refreshed the next day, allowing you to be more productive in your studies. In addition, when you sleep you are allowing your mind a chance to reflect on the information you have learned and will help you retain it through memory consolidation.

If you do not get enough sleep, you may experience an array of effects such as being irritable, moody and/or exhausted. Ever since coming to university, there has been a substantial change in my lifestyle. I have more work to do which causes me to stay up later in order to try and finish it. Instead of going to bed at 11 P.M. I go to bed around 12:30 A.M.,  and despite feeling tired when crawling into bed, sometimes when I try to fall asleep, I am unable to. Sometimes it takes until two A.M. to fall asleep, leaving me feeling exhausted and groggy the next day. Not only do I feel gross, but I will wake up early in the morning for class, attend in a zombie-like state and then return to my room where I will sleep for one or two hours (depending on the day). Because I nap during the day, my internal clock is thrown off and I still feel sluggish, causing me to rely on tea or iced coffee to get me through the rest of the day. The weekends help, as I can catch up on sleep; however, once the week starts back up, so does the coffee, late nights and sleep deprivation – a cycle that never ends. With all this said, we should all remember to make time to get an adequate amount of sleep (roughly 8 hours). Although this may be hard, it will benefit all of us in the long run and our bodies will thank us. Good luck on exams!