Shin Han Sophia Leung/Teversity
See the dangerous consequences of not getting enough sleep
My guess is that in almost every college classroom you visit, there are students complaining that they only get 5 hours of sleep, and others that say they get only 2. This is a common and practiced scenario on most college campuses, including the U of T, and I believe a culture that promotes toxic productivity is at the heart of it.
Lack of sleep is trivial and sometimes shared on social media by students as humorous content, which can be very dangerous. We fail to recognize the dangerous consequences of not getting enough sleep.
How important is sleep to learning?
Sleep is a memory aid for learning. Sleeping before learning improves your ability to form new memories. This has also been demonstrated in numerous studies showing that sleep deprivation can impair memory formation and learning ability.
But if you like to nap, the good news is that you’ll learn 20% more just by taking a nap. From a scientific perspective, this learning recovery is associated with lighter, less rapid eye movement sleep. If he sleeps less than 6 hours as she does, he loses 1 of this learning recovery effect.
And sleep after learning is just as important as it initiates the process of memory consolidation, much like the “save” button on a computer.
How does your body suffer from lack of sleep?
An unhealthy amount of sleep equals an unhealthy heart. Short sleep duration increases the risk of dying from heart disease. Lack of sleep accelerates your heart rate, raises your blood pressure, and further erodes your taut vascular structure.
Additionally, people who get less than 7-8 hours of sleep a night are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes. This is partly because our bodies can’t effectively manage calorie consumption and we tend to eat more when we’re awake.
Lack of sleep can also affect the reproductive system in both men and women. This is because reproductive hormones and organs are affected by short sleep, along with the phenomenon of physical attractiveness.
The fact that immune system health is related to how much sleep you get shouldn’t come as a surprise to most people. But the reality is that one night of sleep deprivation can affect your immune system.
Inadequate sleep also degrades the genetic code that is the essence of biological life. It alters the activity of genes and the physical structure of genetic material.
What does this mean for students at University T?
The sleep effects described here are the reader’s digest. To fully understand the vast impact sleep has on our brains, bodies, and lives, we encourage you to read on. why we sleep By Matthew Walker, professor of neuroscience and psychology at the University of California, Berkeley.
I hope the evidence in favor of getting more sleep will prompt everyone in the U of T to seriously consider how to work more sleep into their schedules. It’s important to recognize the harmful effects of a productivity culture. Overall, sleep as an afterthought is detrimental and U of T needs to encourage more consistent and aggressive “8 hours of sleep”.
Shreya Vanwari is a third year psychology student at Woodsworth College. She is a columnist for local issues. Varsity‘s comment section.