While it’s common knowledge that sleep is important, this pandemic has made it highly difficult for those who already can’t sleep and even those who didn’t face a problem before.
Inquiry cases with therapists due to sleeping problems have increased by 20- 30% which is not surprising due to the unusual circumstances.
One of the main reasons for this is the uncertainty surrounding the pandemic. For many people, this means sleepless nights. As cases in many countries are on the rise, health and work issues are in people’s minds.
Another reason is that since everyone is away from their friends and everything feels detached now, it is appealing to stay awake to talk to friends and catch up with them after a long day. This is very common, especially with students. “Since we aren’t in school it is already very hard to talk to our friends, and everyone is only free at night because of their classes,” Aadil Khurana, Class of 2022, said. What students seem to be neglecting is that this lack of sleep can lead to many long-term effects on one’s mental and physical health.
An average teenager needs about 9 hours of sleep. This is because our bodies are literally refueling our system while we rest.
Being sleep deprived is directly linked with low energy levels, and can cause a lack of motivation to perform minimum daily activities. It is also connected with high levels of irritability and exhaustion. As a result, students are often drowsy and tired in their classes, particularly in the morning.
Not meeting the daily requirement for 9 hours of sleep also causes an inability to concentrate, or focus on specific tasks. This poses a huge problem, especially during this period of distance learning when it is difficult to hold students accountable for staying focused on assignments.
A lack of sleep also affects one’s metabolism, resulting in a constant lack of energy. Due to low energy levels, students are also less motivated to exercise.
Evidently, sleep affects every aspect of one’s physical health and mental wellbeing, whether we are aware of it or not.
Since the pandemic has enhanced feelings of uncertainty, isolation, and fear, our mental health is already degrading. 16.6% of the world suffers from depression and this rate has seen an increase this year.
A solution that we usually turn to for these problems is catching up on sleep. However, in a time like this, even sleep seems to be uncertain. The other everyday issues that we face during this pandemic are greatly enhanced due to our lack of sleep. Moreover, it is concerning that at this point, the importance of sleep is completely neglected by most.
While it is inevitable to be waiting for the pandemic to end, we should also see this time as an opportunity to work on ourselves. Even though you may be desperate for 2 a.m calls with your friends right now, it is clear that it comes with a cost. We should all make an effort to maintain healthy routines and habits, and encourage those around us to do the same. We should try to get up and go to bed around the same time every night, and push ourselves to get the minimum 9 hours of sleep that our body needs. It will undoubtedly be worth it when you feel well-rested and ready to focus the next day in class.
The counsellors and peer support team have also created a website with resources for students struggling with their mental health and physical wellbeing during this time. The website has helped many students set up meetings with counsellors, access tips to staying healthy and reach out to the peer support group. If you are in need of support or guidance, be sure to check it out!
Riya Gupta is the News Editor of The Woodstocker
Edited by Aadya Aryal