This archived article was written by: Cassidy Scovill
College changes a person, and much like high school it gets you prepared for your future jobs. It teaches you about responsibility and forces you to juggle your life and school. It also forces you to stay awake entire nights and continue your day as if you were a zombie.
I have recently become aware of how much for granted I take sleep. I recently was assigned the largest writing assignment that I’ve ever received. This caused me to drink copious amounts of energy drinks as I to hammer out an assignment. I have never felt more drugged out in my life. Every time someone talked to me, I would stare at them until they cleared their throat and left. I felt like I was drugged out and the world was moving around me.
I decided to find out exactly why our bodies need sleep. Sleep doesn’t seem as necessary as eating or drinking but it does play a massive role in keeping our bodies running. Sleeping is essentially losing your perception of the world around you and your body reacts to loud noises or being shaken. There are also a number of functions your body does while you sleep that do not take place while we are awake.
During sleep your body stimulates your immune system with chemicals to keep it active and running. Lack of sleep causes you to be more susceptible to disease and sickness. Sleeping is also where the body produces the growth hormones in children, and where your muscles repair themselves.
Dreaming is believed to be caused by your body organizing memories of that day. Only birds and mammals have been found to dream, and only mammals consistently dream (howstuffworks.com). Dreams are also believed to have insight into your thoughts and personality.
The effects of not sleeping are weird and seem to more akin to effects of a drugs. Not sleeping for a night will cause you to go about tired and irritable, and as the lack of sleep progress so too do the effects. After 48 hours your body acts as if you have a 0.1 blood alcohol level, and put this into perspective the legal limit is .08.
This goes to prove that many collisions might not be from falling asleep at the wheel and could come from the lowered reaction times. Eventually you will slip into a hallucinogenic state of being, and you will begin to see things that aren’t really there (howstuffworks.com). So you don’t have to do drugs to see things, all you have to do is stay awake (I do not recommend not sleeping).
Next time you feel like you have to pull an all nighter, or simply want to party all night remember staying up late might be fun, but could be fatal.