Ethan Kim

Professor Miller

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ENGL 102 L

25 January 2018

Sleep
Deprived Students

            Can
humans really survive on three hours of sleep and two hundred milligrams of
caffeine? Technically, they can, but they really should not. From firsthand
experience and extensive research, it is glaringly obvious that students need
at least seven hours of sleep per night. There is no way around it – caffeine,
naps, and extra sleep on the weekends cannot replace a good night’s rest. According
to journalist Judy Willis, “Sleep performs a restorative function for the body
and the brain, and many brain functions become considerably less efficient
after a sleepless night” (Willis 159). Many students forgo the necessary hours
of sleep because they are either busy studying or using their phones. These
sleep deprived students will not only experience a decrease in academic
performance, but they will also put their mental and physical health at risk.

            Academic
performance and alertness during class have been shown to significantly decrease
in sleep deprived students of all grades. Middle school and high school
students who increased their sleep time from six to eight hours per night have
been objectively proven to have their memories increase by up to twenty-five
percent (Willis 160). In another study, it was shown that the difference
between students with higher grades and students with lower grades was only
forty minutes of extra nightly sleep (Willis 160). As a biology major, sleep
deprivation became a real problem for me. To cram for tests in biology, I will
study late into the night and wake up early to study again, resulting in three
hours of sleep. While taking the exam, my reading comprehension is quite
inhibited, so I must reread many of the questions. After the test, I am too
exhausted to stay awake or pay attention in any of my other classes that day. Sleep
deprivation also affects graduate students. Although a 2016 study of Saudi Arabian
medical school students did not show any significant correlation between sleep
deprivation and academic performance, it did show that sleep deprivation and
excessive daytime sleepiness were directly related (Al-Zahrani, et al. 4). In
addition to extreme fatigue during their classes, ninety-eight percent of these
medical school students were also addicted to caffeine.

            High
strung and sleepless students are very prone to experience irritability and
anxiety; in extreme cases, depression and suicidal thoughts can ensue. In 1959,
a radio show host named Peter Tripp remained awake for two hundred hours for
charity. Peter, who was considered to be generally cordial, became increasingly
irritable and eventually cursed at close friends and coworkers over minor disturbances.

At the end of his “wakeathon,” Peter had gone nearly insane, experiencing
hallucinations and paranoia (Tamminen 1).

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