The Importance of Sleep

Consider the following dilemma: you have an APUSH test tomorrow that you should probably study for, but it’s already passed midnight. Would you choose to have a nice sleep so that you could take the test with a fresh state of mind, or would you choose to stay up to get that last stretch of studying done? As a Junior loaded with work, I come by this dilemma quite often. I usually go with the latter solution, generally overlooking the significance of sleep. Little did I know that the amount of sleep you get may pose a fundamental impact on your performance.

I reached out to Ms. Acker, director of counseling, to talk about effects of inadequate sleep and she provided me with a number of helpful resources.

According to an article from WebMD, sleep deprivation can greatly reduce one’s performance and alertness: a reduction of sleep as little as 1.5 hours could lead to an overall reduction of daytime alertness by as much as 32 percent. This could, in turn, affect areas of cognitive ability and memory. In other words, cutting down on sleep to study more may have a reverse effect since memory impairment can impact the quality of one’s performance.

Furthermore, sleep deprivation could yield extensive long-term health issues including but not limited to high blood pressure, heart attack, and mental impairment.

For these reasons, sleep should be a priority for those who care about their performance as well as their well-being in general. Although what is “enough sleep” differs from one individual to another, it has been reported by Work It Daily that most adults need approximately seven to eight hours of sleep every night.

If the reason why you are not getting enough sleep is because you have difficulty falling asleep, listed below are a few methods that could help you get better sleep.

Serial Diverse Imagining: Simon Fraser University reported on a new way of falling asleep: “cognitive shuffling” or Serial Diverse Imagining (SDI). In this method, the brain would conjure arbitrary images, essentially mixing up one’s thoughts to put off the concerns and issues that usually hinder sleep. Counting sheep is a great example!

Forcing yourself to stay awake: Reverse psychology! This method can relieve your pressure from sleep anxiety and actually help you to naturally fall asleep. Try reading a book for enjoyment and you may find yourself falling asleep quickly.

Hiding the clock: Constantly checking the clock to see what time it is will only stress you out. Free yourself from the pressure of watching the time ticking by.

If you are interested in reading the articles referenced herein, you can find the links below:

https://www.workitdaily.com/sleep-work-performance/

https://www.thefabricator.com/article/safety/how-sleep-deprivation-affects-work-performance

https://medicalxpress.com/news/2016-06-cognitive-shuffle.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/15-ways-to-fall-asleep-faster_us_55dde3e7e4b04ae497054470

(Copyright 2018 Shauna Kwag)

Shauna Kwag

Editor

Shauna Kwag is a two year junior at Blair Academy. As an editor at the Oracle, she hopes to integrate her interest in poetry, photography, sports, and social science into her work.