Home / 2011-01-20 / Students need to get more sleep, just not in classes

Students need to get more sleep, just not in classes

Kristin Shannon
Staff Writer
knshannon@valdosta.edu

 We’ve all seen or been one of those students who slowly drift into sleep during the middle of a class lecture.  The slam of a professor’s book on their podium or the gentle tap of a fellow classmate usually wakes up the class sleeper.  But what is the reason for the inappropriate nap time?
 Often, it is assumed that students are letting their new found freedom in college get in the way of their sleep.  The absence of a nagging parent telling one to go to bed is replaced by late nights of random activities that keep you up until the wee hours of the morning.
 According to a Stanford study conducted by Dr.William Dement, college students should get eight hours of sleep or they will accumulate a sleep debt that will only increase unless it is slept off.
 But not everyone misses out on their eight hours of sleep due to late night partying and frivolous behavior.  Some students’ responsibilities get in the way of their ability to balance sleep with the rest of their lives.
 “I work and after work I go run.  So when I have to get up at 7 in the morning to go to class at 8 and listen to a [professor] lecture with a slow voice, I just fall asleep,” Zach Broyles, senior physical education major, said.
 Broyles is not the only one to think that too much on their plate plus lack of interest can make a student sleep in class.
 “I fall asleep in class because the professor does not make the subject interesting [along with the fact] that I am just tired,” Valencia Johnson, sophomore sociology major said.
 However, the thoughts of sleeping in class during grad school seems to be a whole other story.
 While undergraduate students engage in less “cerebral intensive activities,” the same can not be said for graduate students who are forced to perform on a more intensive level to their undergraduate counterparts.  Therefore, lack of sleep is more detrimental to a grad student for it soon becomes sleep deprevation due to the intensity of their programs.
  Dr. Vanessa Britto, the director of health services at Wellesley College in a Boston Globe article, likened sleep deficiency to driving drunk saying that it’s “detrimental to (students’) reaction time and memory.”
  In grad school, in particular, students often suffer severe sleep deprivation. Undergrad students may also suffer from sleep deprivation, but usually the result is due to poor time management and the consequences of missing class may be less severe than that of the graduate programs.
  However, grad students generally suffer sleep deprivation for academic reasons. Things like writing 25 page research papers, preparing 30 minute class presentations, studying for excruciating midterm exams, or a bevy of other loathsome activities.
 Dr. Kate Warner, Director and Associate Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy Program, has never seen a student fall asleep during her classes.
 “I teach in the Masters Degree Program in Marriage and Family Therapy, and I don’t think sleeping in class has ever been an issue in any of our classes.  I am not sure about VSU in general,” says Dr. Warner.
 While the grad program at VSU may not have a problem with sleep deprived students actually sleeping in class, one can still manage to find someone who didn’t get enough sleep the night before in their undergraduate classroom.
 “Sleeping in class is something that every college student may witness or experience while in school. In my opinion, students sleep in class because they are juggling a lot of different things friendships, relationships, jobs, fitness, religion, and extra curricular activities on a day to day basis,”  Sabritney Dunn, junior psychology major, said.
 While the jury about not paying attention in class and still succeeding may be out, the fact that college students have finally reached the real world in some small aspect.  Mom and Dad are no longer around to manage your time, and time management is now your responsibility.
 School should be your first responsibility, but making sure you find time to sleep should work it’s way up the priority list.

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