A Raider’s View - Lack of sleep degrades mental abilities

As we slide into finals week, we understand that all-nighters are a must to get the copious amounts of school work done before deadlines and due dates. 

Although, not sleeping is obviously bad for your health, some do not actually know how bad lack of sleep is to the health of a college-age individual. 

Loss of critical thinking skills is a huge downside to not getting enough sleep. 

“Sleep plays a critical role in thinking and learning. Lack of sleep hurts these cognitive processes in many ways,” according to WebMD. 

Not only does lack of sleep impair your attention span, concentration and problem solving abilities, lack of sleep also inhibits active sleep cycles, memories that you have during the day while studying, do not actually remain in your long-term memory. There are brain activities called “sharp wave ripples” that are “responsible for consolidating memory. 

The ripples also transfer learned information from the hippocampus to the neocortex of the brain where the long-term memories are stored,” according to WebMD. 

Lack of sleep also induces depression. Insomnia is closely linked to depression, sickness and a reduction to your ability to use good judgment. It does not allow individuals to make decisions wisely. 

Along with bad decision making, as most of us know, lack of sleep makes individuals irritable, and it is interesting to see the correlation between the aforementioned topics as being all interconnected with each other because of lack of sleep. 

Most individuals need close to eight hours of sleep at night. If you do not get that much sleep, you are at risk to some of the things previously in this article. So even though you are cramming for finals and trying to get everything done, remember that self-care is the most important thing to think about when you are stressed. 

So instead of pulling an all-nighter, break up studying and working with breaks of leisure and possibly a nap to retain the information and to further allow you to concentrate better to finish the semester. 

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