Sleep Deprivation Related to Depression in Students

Sleep is an essential part of our lives. It restores our minds and bodies by conserving and regenerating energy, repairing health problems and organizing our unconscious minds. But what happens when we don’t get enough sleep? According to several recent research studies, students that do not get an adequate amount of sleep are three times more likely to show signs of depression than their well-rested peers. Along with depression, sleep deprivation can also lead to serious physiological problems.

According to a study conducted by the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, more than half of the 262 students surveyed were categorized as "excessively sleep-deprived." This means they were getting an average of six hours of sleep per day during the week and an average of eight hours of sleep during the weekend. This is well below the National Sleep Center’s recommended nine hours of sleep per day for young adults. Also, of the students surveyed, 30 percent showed serious signs of depression and another 32 percent showed some signs of the illness. Another recent study, conducted by Columbia University, reviewed the sleeping patterns of over 15,000 students. They found that students who went to sleep at midnight or later were 24 percent more likely to be depressed and 20 percent more likely to have suicidal thoughts than those students who went to sleep before 10pm. According to these studies, sleep deprivation can have terrible affects on student’s mental status. Aside from depression, sleep deprivation can lead to other very serious health risks, including: muscle aches, headaches, dizziness, nausea, hallucinations, weight gain, memory loss, increased risk of diabetes and increased blood pressure.

Students are so susceptible to this disorder because they are facing new and challenging areas of their lives. For example, the added academic pressure new college students face can lead to a serious lack of sleep. With harder classes and more coursework than they are traditionally used to, college students spend more time studying and pulling all-nighters than high school students. Also, with more freedom and social opportunities, college students are known for spending longer nights out with friends than they normally would. To combat sleep deprivation and its affects, turn off the technology (TVs, computers and cell phones), keep the room dark and slightly cool and get some rest. Getting an adequate amount of sleep can keep us all healthy both mentally and physically.

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