Hye Sung Gil Sunset / 12th Grade
With students going back to school in person after a long quarantine, in addition to the new COVID variants springing up, there is a more insidious illness that is synonymous with being a student: sleep deprivation.
One of the most prevailing myths that are taken as fact by many is the idea that it is possible to recover from sleep deprivation by “catching up” on sleep.
But does this idea truly work? A recent study by researchers at Jagiellonian University in Krakw, Poland may prove otherwise.
The study, in which participants spent 10 days with ⅓ less sleep, then given a week to catch up on sleep, showed that even with extra make-up sleep, the lingering effects of chronic sleep deprivation continued.
One lost hour of sleep could take more than 4 days to recover from, and this can greatly compile over time. The effect of sleep deprivation can be characterized by impaired cognitive functions, such as slower knowledge retention rate, reaction times, and accuracy during tests, as well as other health concerns like diabetes, obesity, lower immune system, etc.
For students, an impaired cognitive function can be the determinant between a pass and a fail grade, and with the addition of the COVID-19 virus in its evolving forms, a decreased immune system can have an even greater impact.
While chronic sleep deprivation is an issue prevalent in both adults and adolescents, comparing the 8-10 hours required for adolescents to the 7 hours of sleep required for adults, it is plain to see that sleep deprivation in adolescents is a greater-looming issue.
So, this study and a multitude of others show that making up for lost sleep is almost impossible, especially in the current age where productivity is key and loss of sleep due to work and assignments are the norm. So, what can be done?
There is unlikely to be an easy fix to this issue as the study showed. A day of rest to make up for a week’s worth of sleep deprivation would not work. Still, there are ways to increase sleep.
One way is to make a schedule. By creating an outline of what needs to be done, it is possible to be more efficient and get more sleep.
Hopefully, by dispelling the myth of easy recovery from chronic sleep deprivation, people will be able to procure a more effective sleep schedule.
<Hye Sung Gil Sunset / 12th Grade