Feb 212008
Authors: Johnny Hart

Nearly 14 percent of CSU freshmen this year said in a recent American College Health Association survey that in the seven days prior to the survey, they woke up feeling rested one day or less.

The numbers decreased slightly from a year ago. In 2006 the number of CSU students who reported waking up rested one day or less was slightly more than 17 percent.

“One out of every five students is saying ‘I’m not waking up rested,'” said Deb Morris, director of Health Education.

Morris said this is a problem because sleeping is critical for the brain to function properly. Also, rest gives the major organs of the body an opportunity to rejuvenate.

“Physiologically, if the person is sleep deprived — not getting adequate sleep over time – it’s going to wear their immune system down,” Morris said. “They’re going to find that not only do they feel tired and fatigued, but they’re more vulnerable to all of the colds and flu.”

Sophomore business major and Cam’s Lobby Shop employee Vince Julian said he sees a lot of tired people buying energy drinks throughout the day.

“I think 70 percent of our profits are probably from energy drinks because it’s almost a necessity in a college person’s life,” Julian said.

This recent rise in sales of energy drinks and high sugar foods and beverages suggests these products temporarily alleviate drowsiness.

“Anything that says boost on it, it seems that students are drawn to it,” Morris said. “It’s going to hype them up; it’s going to make them feel more alert.”

But Morris warns of the rebound and crash from energy drinks and how people are often worse off.

“I feel like students, when they don’t get a lot of sleep, feel like they need an energy drink to stay awake,” Julian said. “Even if they don’t need it, it might just be that thought, that state-of-mind that they need one to get through the day.”

Sleep deprivation is sometimes caused by stress. Students’ minds race when attempting to sleep, leading them to sleep aids or medication.

In order to get enough nightly sleep, sophomore interior design major Leah Neam said she needs sleep aids.

“I have a brain that doesn’t shut off,” Neam said. “Stress is what keeps me up at night.”

If she doesn’t get adequate sleep the night before, she said she often falls asleep in class and is unmotivated to do schoolwork.

“I need seven or eight hours of sleep a night, but I rarely get it,” Neam said.

Morris suggested only temporarily using sleeping aids to “get back on a good cycle, get your brain use to sleep again, and then you ought to be able to (sleep) more naturally. In the short term, sometimes a person might have to use sleep aid.”

A routine like going to bed and waking up at the same time each day also aids sleeping habits.

“We talk about (routine) more with children,” Morris said. “I think we don’t interpret that into adulthood.”

National Sleep Awareness Week is March 3-9. For more information on sleep visit www.sleepfoundation.org or Hartshorn Health Services.

Staff writer Johnny Hart can be reached at news@collegian.com.

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