Sleep and Be Healthy

Getting good sleep is important for health, wellbeing and it can even make you smarter!

Sleepy Cat

1. Sleep helps you study.

sleepy cat struggling to study - photo by Lucie Provencher

During sleep, “one of the main things the brain is doing is moving memories from short-term storage into long-term storage, allowing us more short-term memory space for the next day. If you don’t get adequate deep sleep, then these memories will be lost. (…) it is a good idea if you are revising to make sure that you’re getting a reasonable night’s sleep. In one study, people who failed to do so did 40% worse than their contemporaries.” (Source: BBC. Also see Wikipedia entry on sleep and memory)

2. Sleep is good for your immune system (and general health)

not a happy cat - photo by Belal Khan

“Prolonged lack of sleep can disrupt your immune system, so you’re less able to fend off bugs.”

Additionally, it “may lead to long-term mood disorders like depression and anxiety.”

If that’s not enough, it’s also thought that “missing out on deep sleep may lead to type 2 diabetes,” and heart disease. (Source: NHS)

3. Not sleeping enough can make you get fat

rotund feline - photo by Dan Perry

Sleep is key to tackling obesity, according to an opinion piece on the BBC.

The NHS tells us “Studies have shown that people who sleep less than seven hours a day are 30% more likely to be obese than those who get nine hours of sleep or more.”

Even if you don’t gain weight, chances are you’ll feel more hungry and less satisfied: “sleep-deprived people have reduced levels of leptin, the chemical that makes you feel full and increased levels of ghrelin, the hunger-stimulating hormone.” (Source: NHS).

Even more interesting for people going on a weight-loss diet: those who don’t sleep enough lose mostly muscle tissue when dieting, while those who do sleep enough lose more fat, according to medical research.

4. Sleep affects your sex drive

cat looking alienated while not having sex - photo by Tre' Sowers

“Men and women who don’t get enough quality sleep have lower libidos and less of an interest in having sex, research shows.” (source: NHS)

5. There’s a good chance you’re not getting enough

cat under covers, sleepy - photo by Smadar Shilo-Marcus

We asked students what an average night’s sleep is. Based on the results, it seems 43% of our students don’t get enough sleep.

If your studies, part-time work or lifestyle habits have been keeping you from sleeping enough or sleeping well, there are tips for healthy sleep on the NHS choices website. It could make a difference to your academic success – and, of course, to your wellbeing.

Look after yourself – and please be considerate of others

Perhaps unsurprisingly, nothing is as sure to make students grumpy as ‘lack of sleep’, followed closely by ‘inconsiderate people’ (source: UniLife Poll).

So, when you’re on a night out and having fun, please be considerate of other people (residents and fellow students) once you return to residential areas. Your fellow students appreciate getting a good night’s sleep, too.

sleeping cats - photo by Gloson Teh