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Sleep Deprivation

Sleep Deprivation: Is it Really Harming College Students?

College students grow more and more busy every minute. Attending classes, doing homework, working part-time jobs, and taking care of a family means less time for sleep. College students who stay up all night and party also tend to lose much needed sleep. Sleep deprivation has many major negative effects on teenagers and college students.

Sleep is the most basic human need. It is regulated by an internal biological clock. Our sleep-wake cycle, or circadian rhythm, functions in a coordinated way (Dunkell 18). This "clock  for sleep runs on a twenty-four hour schedule. Our circadian rhythm also operates our heart rate, the time we eat meals, when we breathe, and when we have to use the restroom.

Without sleep, many problems are caused. When a person doesn't get enough sleep, it can make them less attentive or aware of what is going on around them. In college students, this makes it so much harder to learn. If a person is sleepy, it can be harder to listen and even write down notes.

The impacts of sleep deprivation are described in four different categories (Cochrane 12). The first stage of sleep deprivation is sleepiness. Basically, it's connected with when a student appears to be awake, but actually is mentally asleep. This is also known as daydreaming. Sleepiness can also lead to actually falling asleep in class. If a student falls asleep, it makes them less motivated and even sleepier than they were in the first place. When a student falls asleep in school, it decreases their performance dramatically. Those students who drive to and from school may also fall asleep behind the wheel because of loss of sleep.

When a person is less alert and behind the wheel, their judgement is drastically slower. More than 100,000 auto accidents occur each year due to drowsy drivers, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. More than

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