Sleep Isn’t for the Weak

By Mac Pomeroy

As the youngest of two children, I got a good look at what college was like from my older sister before I came to Youngstown State University. My sister, Madeline, is a theater major but began her college career on a different path.

Despite eventually realizing the major was not for her, she seemed fine at first. As the assignments and tests picked up, Madeline developed a serious problem that many students suffer from — she stopped sleeping. 

Most of us have known or currently know someone who has pulled an all-nighter. 

Sometimes it can seem incredibly tempting to skip sleep to study for that upcoming exam. However, this can have the opposite effect on students. 

A body can only handle so much, and sleeping is when it has the opportunity to heal itself. 

What good is all that studying if you can’t stay awake during the test? 

Madeline grew very irritable. I like to joke that my sister is always cranky, but this was beyond that. She was having mood swings, she was anxious and the smallest noise gave her a headache. 

It was difficult to have a simple conversation with her, and eventually enough was enough. 

Typically, when people skip sleep, it isn’t because they want to. It’s because they ran low on time while doing other daily tasks.

This can be complicated to handle, but what can help is time management. Adults chirp this at students constantly, but it’s important and not as difficult to start as many may think. 

Start by getting a planner. A small one will do. 

Write in all of your daily events, including the times, then check to see where you may have a gap. Is there a slot between work and class when you can study for an hour? Twenty minutes? Find these slots and put your study time there. 

If you are trying to focus on getting more sleep into your schedule, you can even consider setting a bedtime. 

This may sound childish, but you don’t have to set it for 8 p.m. Just set a time and remember that at this time, you need to have everything done. This time is for nothing but sleep. 

To completely follow a schedule, it may take practice. 

This doesn’t mean you aren’t allowed to break your own rules. If a party comes up, go to it. If you need to push back your set sleep time in order to finish your homework, do it. 

Try to stick to this schedule as often as possible. 

Eventually, my sister switched her major, and without the stress of doing something she didn’t enjoy, she started sleeping again. She got better.  She was no longer so agitated, and she was able to focus more on her work. Now my sister is doing well, and I am proud of how far she has come.

Sleep is a natural human function, the same as eating or breathing. Avoiding it is dangerous. 

Yes, sometimes it can seem very tempting. However, you need to consider the consequences and decide if those few extra hours to work is worth the risk of exhaustion stopping you. More often than not, it isn’t.