And so we reach the final week before a well deserved break. But we find ourselves wondering how we managed to do it. How did we survive 9 consecutive 9am Monday morning lectures? Or, in the more realistic case, how did we miss so many of those early starts? Is it because us students are too lazy? Or is there more to it?
Our body clocks help to regulate our sleep cycle however the way the cycle works for adolescents is typically delayed, which might be why we can potentially survive 2 consecutive nights in jesters. This type of sleep pattern is known as the night owl, the opposition to the early birds. Research tells us that night owls tend to be more creative and alert in the evenings and at night, which explains why some of us can get away with pulling last minute all-nighters…that pay off!
You may find that since your childhood years, the older you get, the less sleep you need. However research suggests that those around adolescent age still need around 9 hours sleep, although some of us may still feel invincible surviving on significantly less.
Just when you thought sleep was the most relaxing, most simple thing in the world, it’s actually made up of 5 stages. If your sleep is interrupted, so are the stages, which is why we may feel fatigued and unfocused if we’ve experienced broken sleep. We spend, on average, a third of our lives sleeping, but that doesn’t mean it’s a waste of our time. The more well rested we are, the more productive we can be in our waking hours.
Some may believe that living off less hours of sleep is okay, only because they can then catch up on sleep over the weekend. Catching up on sleep isn’t like catching up on your reading. In the case of catching z’s, significant rises and falls in the number of hours we sleep over a short period of time can impact our sleep cycles further. But certainly not for the better.
But at the end of the week us students don’t necessarily look forward to getting into bed early on a Friday night, we’re more concerned about taking out university stress on our livers. But is a jesticle the solution for an overworked student? Having a drink or five may help us fall asleep quicker (or pass out), but the quality of sleep is compromised, according to researcher Irshaad Ebrahim:
Alcohol may seem to be helping you to sleep, as it helps induce sleep, but overall it is more disruptive to sleep, particularly in the second half of the night.
However, the general consensus among students may show unwillingness to sacrifice the all important nights out just to improve our sleep cycles. But better well-being doesn’t have to mean becoming a social recluse who sleeps 12 hours a day. Maybe after a night out, rather than tipping four heaped spoons of coffee into a travel mug, why not wake yourself up with a morning walk or run? The caffeine will only distort your sleeping pattern more, especially after a big night, but exercise can help wake you up naturally and leave you feeling more energised than you first thought.