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The Effects Of Sleep Deprivation In College Students

2578 words - 11 pages

Introduction

Most people believe that stress is only caused by day-to-day actions such as a working on a difficult exam, getting suck in traffic on your way to work, or even just forgetting your phone at home. Although there are the more thought-of methods of stressing oneself out (such as leaving things for the last minute or having a long discussion with someone), it is less commonly known that lack of sleep can cause significant stress on the human body and mind, leading to cognitive impairment (Giese et al., 2013). According to the National Sleep Foundation, adults over the age of 18 should be sleeping anywhere from 7-8 hours of sleep per night while pre-adults from ages 5-17 should ...view middle of the document...

Men who slept for short periods of time had more negative interactions with their romantic partners than those who slept longer (Williams et al., 2013). Adolescents that slept little had compromised emotional information processing (Soffer-Dudek, Sadeh, Dahl, Rosenblat-Stein, 2011). Researchers found that difficulties in beginning and maintaining sleep, and nightmares were common in children that had experienced a traumatic and stressful event (Schäfer & Bader, 2012).
Although there have been no studies that found that lack of sleep had no effect on stress, studies have found that there are numerous factors that could add to stress levels. One of these factors is over-sleeping. In a study done by Joel Herscovitch and Roger Broughton, participants reported that while they can tolerate low hours of sleep, they felt worse after attempting to make up for lost sleep by over-sleeping (1981). After a certain amounts of days without sleep, the body needs time to recover. While this can be important, many people attempt to recover lost time by sleeping hours over the average sleep-time. Sleep-time isn’t the only thing that can affect stress levels. Two studies done at the Karolinska Institute of Sweden and Wayne State University in Detroit found that when participants were exposed to radiation levels similar to those of a cell-phone, they took longer than the control group, that received no radiation, to fall into the deeper stage of sleep (CRC Health Group). Another, similar study done by Dr. Gaby Badre, found that, adolescents who tended to use their phone excessively throughout the day, were more prone to greater stress, restlessness, and trouble falling and staying asleep (CRC Health Group). Not only does phone-usage and over-sleeping affect stress, but Dr.Vicki Griffin and her team found that stress levels can have an effect on eating habits because of the increase in the metabolism, which is the rate at which the body produces energy (Life Style Laboratory). While these stressors are important to understand, lack of sleep is a factor widely unstudied. Lack of sleep affects the metabolism, can occur due to high screen usage (cell-phones, computers, TVs), and ultimately leads to over-sleeping once the body cannot support itself any longer.
Stress affects many areas of the body, including the brain. A study found that long-term changes in neurobiological systems regulating stress increased sensitivity to stress (Schäfer & Bader, 2012). These changes in ones system can have life-long effects on the human body. Prolonged exposure to stress can also lead to neuron-loss, primarily in the hippocampus, and can affect memory and attention processes (Williams et al., 2013). Studies found that lack of sleep in women was associated with poorer responses to the stress induction and that there was a lack of engagement on the task at hand (Alhola & Polo-Kantola). Increased sleep time over a long period of time has been shown to reduce stress over time...

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