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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    You can sleep when you’re dead

    Richard Bootzin, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the UA, answers questions about sleeping habits and insomnia at Cushing Street Bar and Restaurant on Tuesday as part of the series of Science CafǸ lectures.
    Richard Bootzin, professor of psychology and psychiatry at the UA, answers questions about sleeping habits and insomnia at Cushing Street Bar and Restaurant on Tuesday as part of the series of ‘Science CafǸ’ lectures.

    As the semester nears its end, schoolwork tends to pile up, and students often get less sleep than they should. The UA-sponsored Science Café, hosted by psychology professor Richard Bootzin at Cushing Street Restaurant and Bar, stressed the importance of sleep and the dangers of insomnia.

    “”Do you know on average what time college students go to bed, on a night when they have to go to school or work the next day?”” Bootzin asked in reference to students’ tendency toward sleep deprivation. “”Two a.m. Now, is it a shock that they won’t go to an 8 a.m. class?””

    Because of the average student’s tendency toward late nights and early mornings, sleep irregularity becomes a common pattern. Students will attempt to make up for lack of sleep during the week by oversleeping on the weekend, and then students become locked in a system where their patterns of sleep are completely irregular, Bootzin said.

    “”Often students will not be able to sleep when they want to because of these patterns,”” Bootzin said. “”And this will feel very much like insomnia.””

    For students, the lack of sleep and the irregularity of their sleep patterns most often affects their grades and quality of work.

    “”I would say attendance, in 80 percent of my classes, is negatively affected because I don’t sleep enough,”” said Andrew Cameron, a history junior. “”I haven’t been formally diagnosed with insomnia, but I will usually have, like, a two-week period where I sleep about every other day. It’s a lot like doing homework in a loud room; everything is very distracting when you’re tired.””

    For Cameron, the inconsistency of his attendance has been the most difficult thing for him to overcome. While school is not the only factor for Cameron’s lack of sleep, it has been a major contribution.

    “”My sleep pattern is definitely based on stress, and school causes lots of stress. It is not just that factor; it is usually many stressful things,”” Cameron said. “”Then I won’t get sleep, and then I will do worse in school. It is cyclical.””

    Feeling similarly was nutritional sciences junior Alan Cordero, whose pattern of sleep is often thrown off on the weekend.

    “”During the week, my pattern is relatively normal, unless I have a big test or midterm or something,”” Cordero said. “”But on the weekend, if I go out, I usually stay up later than I do during the week. What happens is, I get used to my pattern during the week, and then it changes over the weekend and I get used to that. And then I have to go back to school, and it usually leaves me feeling really tired.””

    While much of Bootzin’s lecture was not aimed toward students, many of the audience members’ questions concerned the importance of sleep, which related to students and non-students alike.

    The consequences of sleep deprivation include negative responses in mental health, learning, memory, cognition and emotional recognition. Without enough sleep, there will always be negative consequences in the future, and if continued on a regular basis, serious problems can arise, Bootzin said.

    “”The question to ask is not why we sleep, but why we are awake,”” he said. “”If you can answer that question, you can begin to answer why we need sleep, how much we sleep and when.””

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