Sunday, April 22, 2007

Dreaming of sleep

This article on sleep deprivation in college students focuses on Lehigh's Tyler Rock - IFC president, SigEp chapter president, and fifth-year senior with a double major. (That makes me tired just typing it.)
As both a civil and integrated business engineer, Tyler Rock goes two or three weeks straight averaging four hours of sleep per night. In addition, the current president of the Interfraternity Council puts his alarm clock far away from his bed so he must get out of bed to wake up. Rock rises and blinks his eyes repeatedly in an attempt to stay awake. He showers about 10 minutes after the alarm goes off.

Because of his extracurricular activities, the fifth-year senior has had a jam-packed schedule for most of his tenure as a student. He is also Sigma Phi Epsilon fraternity’s president and has been a member of Student Senate for three years. He has certainly kept busy. Maybe too busy. Approximately half his college days have been taken up with 8 a.m. classes; but, despite his fatigue, Rock loves his extracurricular activities.

“Oftentimes I will lie awake thinking of a variety of things on my mind throughout the day,” Rock says. “Anything from a test to any extracurricular thing I’m doing.”

Sleep is an aspect of life neglected by college students. With the Internet, television, instant messaging, studying and partying, students don’t find time for sleep.

“If people are having trouble with the amount of hours they are sleeping, then they need to manage their time better,” says Steph Berger, ’07, Healthy Hawks coordinator. “Something must be cut out of their schedule, extracurricular activities if it’s necessary, because there is time in the day for sleep.”

Unfortunately, young adults produce melatonin as if in a time zone two hours behind wherever they are actually living. Melatonin is the hormone in the brain that regulates the cycle for humans to want to rest. Therefore, all students would need to adapt to the regular time zone in order to remain awake to the rhythm of the sun. One poll, conducted in April of 2005 by Katie Becker, ’07, found the average length of sleep for 40 students the night before was 5.8 hours.

“Personally, I think a balanced sleep schedule helps,” Rock says. “Exercising and watching what you eat should help, too. The healthier lifestyle you live, I think, helps with a healthier sleep schedule.”
Click the link below for the full article.

Dreaming of sleep - The Brown and White