You are getting very sleeeeeepy

John Hult

John Hult

The day has come. You’ve been dreading it all week, yet you still have managed to doodle away the time you could have been spending to ease tonight’s burden checking off items on your laundry list of unimportant junk. You didn’t miss “Friends.” You didn’t forget to clean out your toenails. You didn’t forget to spend 15 hours in the “singles” chat room.

But you did forget, intentionally, to write that paper.

Welcome to the all-nighter. Sooner or later, it seems every student procrastinates enough to need one. But sleep deprivation can lead to long-term heath problems if it goes unchecked.

Living in the residence halls provides students will several opportunities to miss out on shut-eye, but most students find a way to get their sleep anyway.

“On certain occasions, people will be up all night, but you usually find a way to block it out,” freshman Chris Winge said. “I’ve got a couple of neighbors who stay up pretty late every night, but I’ve just learned to sleep through it.”

Freshman pharmacy major Sara Fowler agrees.

“If I decide to go out to a movie or something, I might still have homework to do, and I just have to get by with less,” Fowler said.

The activities students partake in also have an influence on their sleeping habits. Senior theater major Dietr Poppen said that his interests often keep him from getting a reasonable amount of sleep.

“It depends on what I’m doing, what I’m involved in at the time. Some nights I manage to get about five or six hours, which is generally pretty good for me. But sometimes I go for weeks on one or two,” Poppen said.

“There’s usually something that interests me enough to keep me up.”

In extreme cases, students will turn to sleeping pills to put the stress to rest.

Ila Kool, pharmacist at Student Health, pointed out that a chronic lack of sleep is not something to be taken lightly. The nurse practitioners generally look to long-term symptoms to before deciding to medicate.

“It’s not a good idea to take sleeping pills regularly,” she said.

“Your body becomes acclimated to them and you can develop a resistance. Some are habit-forming.”

“The practitioners like to get a full history on any patient who comes in with long-term lack of sleep issues. It could be a sign of depression or it could be a hygiene issue.”

Kool pointed out that some medications originally intended as a treatment for depression have been more effective as sleep aids. But even then, caution is used.

“It’s not as if you walk into someone’s office and say, ‘I’ve got a problem sleeping’ and they’ll prescribe you an anti-depressant.”

The best advice to deal with sleep issues may come from those who have experienced the rigors of college life already. Jo Nesmith is an instructor with a master’s degree who teaches several classes while pursuing her doctorate. Yet she still manages to sleep a healthy six to eight hours a night on average.

“For me, its just about time management. If you have an hour between class, you need to use that time wisely, but every student is different,” Nesmith said.

“Is your goal to get a degree? Is your goal to get a high GPA? Your goal may just be to have fun. You just have to prioritize. Sometimes you just have to let some things go.”

Sophomore journalism major Angie Wixon seems to understand.

“If I have studying to do, sleeping is usually the first thing to go.”