Sleep is the new going out.

24 August 2022

Often during summer our sleeping patterns as students tend to get (even) more unbalanced. Even though we are not lying awake over deadlines anymore, we may feel as though we want to enjoy our free time to the fullest. Going out, seeing friends, watching shows ‘til the sun comes up again, whatever might be keeping you up at night, it is causing you to sleep at times that might not be so beneficial for your body (in the long run).

We often feel like we are missing out on life. FOMO is a well-known term nowadays.But why are we so okay with missing out on sleep? A lot of people are quick to say that they can handle little sleep and that it doesn’t affect them.

May we show you the contrary?

When we sleep it is the time for our body to restore itself. Not only do you get to hit a mental and emotional pause, but your physical body finally gets the opportunity to heal itself in peace.

When you sleep there are these little things in your body (that you might have never heard of) getting restored. They are called mitochondria. These are parts of your cells and their main function is to produce energy, mainly from the food you eat. They make sure that this energy goes to all of your organs. When your mitochondria get or become impaired you might start suffering from a lack of energy, brain fog and sometimes even anxiety and depression. Sleep is like magic to mitochondria. When you are asleep they do not have to work as hard as when you are awake. They have all the time to “clean up” within your body. This means that investing in your sleep means investing in good health and eventually, great energy levels.Added to this, research has shown that sleep promotes cognition and memory. For you, as a student, this should be very beneficial, meaning that your focus increases when you get enough and healthy sleep! Good sleep facilitates learning, reduces stress and anxiety and gives you the energy to help you get done whatever needs to get done the next day.

But how do we get the right sleep?

There is a lot of debate about how many hours of sleep a person needs. Most research shows that the best amount is between 7-9 hours a night. Getting good, healthy sleep (a.k.a. deep sleep) depends on a variety of factors as well. Light can kill a good sleep. Because of our circadian rhythm our body prefers darkness at the end of the day. This causes the body to recognize it is time to sleep. Making sure that you are not looking at screens and that your room is dark at least 1-2 hours before you go to bed can make a huge difference for your body. Then there are certain other “do not’s” that you must have heard of before. No caffeine before you sleep (your last coffee should actually be 8 hours before you go to bed). But also alcohol and nicotine can affect your sleep.

We know it is summer time and we are not surprised if you are living your best life every night. Our advice isn’t to nap your days away. However, hitting the snooze button less and rather having a steady sleeping schedule can do a lot for a person. Learn how to make sure to give your body the rest it deserves and needs. And just then, maybe, sleep could be the new going out.