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The Carletonian

The Carletonian

The Carletonian

SWArticle: Sleepless on Campus

< is a natural, physiological necessity. Not getting enough sleep can lead to a number of problems including illness, stress, lessened alertness and emotional outbreaks. Adults typically need 7 ½ to 9 hours of sleep per night.

Although seven and a half to nine hours might seem impossible at Carleton, getting an adequate amount of sleep will improve your concentration and actually improve your academic performance.

A full night’s sleep involves five or six repetitions of the five stages of sleep. Each repetition takes between 90 and 110 minutes. Each successive repetition increases in total time. This is because the rapid eye movement (REM) stage gets longer with each cycle. REM sleep is the last stage of each sleep cycle, and the stage in which dreaming occurs and the muscles shut down, making the body immobile. Before the REM stage, your body cycles through four other stages of sleep.

The first stage is a partial waking stage, which happens between each sleep cycle, although normally consciousness is not fully regained.

Next, sleep sets in, the body’s temperature drops, and your breathing and heart rate normalize.

After this stage, there are two stages of deep, restorative sleep, where hormones are released. These hormones are responsible for growth and muscle development, among other things. Deep sleep is when people will be hard, if not impossible, to wake.

In order to get the full benefit of sleep and maximize rest and relaxation each night, there are a few things you can do. Try to stay on the same sleep schedule all week. Make sure you relax as soon as you get in bed, and do not do homework or other distracting activities in your bed. In order to transition into sleep effectively, it is also advisable to exercise often, and try not to drink alcohol or caffeinated beverages within three hours of falling asleep. Sleep is an important part of health.

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