The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

The Student News Site of Tarrant County College

The Collegian

Sleep essential as memory aid

By Mary Elaine Midgley/reporter

Thinking of pulling an all-nighter to cram for those finals? Forget about it. The lack of sleep you inflict on your brain will result in severe impairment of memory.

Sometimes, counting sheep just won’t work. Sleep deprivation is more common than one might think. Studies have shown it afflicts 47 million American adults. Sleep deprivation has many causes, symptoms and luckily, cures.

Exhaustion and lack of physical energy are some of the symptoms. Fatigue, in turn, leads to emotional problems such as stress, depression and anger. People become irritable, both with themselves and with others. Some think this could be a possible cause for road rage.

The human brain loses its ability to function properly without adequate rest. It works to overcome the lack of sleep, but is unable to function to full capacity. Often decision-making abilities are compromised, thus possibly leading to dangerous situations.

Physical problems can result from insomnia, as well as mental and emotional difficulties. Lack of sleep affects muscle strength; endurance levels drop, and eyes are unable to focus properly. Often, weight gain is a result of insomnia as the lack of sleep kicks the appetite into high gear.

People with sleep deprivation put themselves at risk for colds and infections as their immune system is severely affected.

Another serious danger is driver fatigue. Shift workers, parents of young children and young adults are more likely to have or cause automobile accidents than others. Reflexes and decision-making abilities are seriously impaired.

Duane Connett, NE adjunct psychology instructor, said there are many ways to combat sleep deprivation.

“ Insomnia leads to sleep deprivation,” he said. “The first thing you should do is look at your lifestyle.”

Connett said changing habits before bedtime can help ensure a good night’s sleep. One should not drink alcohol and caffeinated drinks within five to six hours before bedtime. Nor should one exercise just before going to sleep or eat or watch television in the bedroom.

“ As the seasons change, the light tends to make us more awake. A darkened house will expedite sleep,” he said. “In the winter, begin to lessen the light in the house to imitate the setting of the sun.”

Finally, Connett advises going to bed and getting up at the same time every day, even on the weekends.
He also said to try taking the clock out of the room to avoid waking up to check the time all night.

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