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Getting enough zzzzzzleep?
Alex Morales
Antelope Staff
Photo illustration by Kevin Whetstone

It is 7:30 a.m. on a Monday morning while most students are wrapping up breakfast and getting ready for 8 o’clock class, Scott Anderson, a senior  exercise science major from Burwell, is wrapping up his overnight shift.

Right after clocking out at 8 a.m., it is off to the races. Anderson knows he will make it to class a few minutes late, but the professor already knows the routine. “After the first couple of times of being late,  I let my instructor know what was going on,” Anderson says.

Everyone needs a certain amount of sleep, and like most college students, Anderson doesn’t get enough.

According to Roz Sheldon, associate director of counseling and health care, the recommended amount of sleep for college age students is eight hours. “From the cases that I deal with, most students hardly get this amount of sleep,” she says.

This lack of sleep is due to the balancing act between class, studying and work. In Anderson’s case, it is a balancing act while juggling with graveyard shifts.

A reflection of students’ lack of sleep can be found in their academics. According to the National College Health Assessment, last year only 22 percent of UNK students pointed out sleeping difficulties as a factor that affects their individual academic performance. Cold, flu, sore throat and stress combined for 65 percent of the factors that affect academics.

According to Sheldon, illness and stress are closely linked to lack of sleep. “It is important to pay attention to health when experiencing lack of sleep, the immune systems also suffers the consequences,” she says.

At 2 p.m. when most students are halfway through the day, Anderson is just getting his started after four hours of sleep. Breakfast, sleeping pattern, recreation time, everything is off. However, he forces himself to blend into a normal day.

Most college students do not have it this rough. Their lack of sleep comes from late nights—something a nap can fix the next day, right? Not according to Sheldon. “The concept of catching up on sleep doesn’t actually work, it just progressively throws off the sleeping pattern,” she said.

There is no way around it. The body demands a regular sleeping pattern in order to function to its fullest potential. In fact, going to bed at the same time can make sleep as regular as hunger.

As for Anderson, he tries to maintain a positive outlook on his situation. “Hey, you have to do what you have to do. I know I won’t be able to handle it when I’m 40, so if it has to be done, now is the time,” he said.

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