Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 5
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman, go to bed and get some sleep and don’t waste the day

Conor GuyWhen you get six hours of sleep (the average for most college students), you’re operating the next day as if under the influence of two beers. With less sleep, it’s even more. I learned this from a lecture given by Dr. Richard Simon (Whitman alumnus ’72 and director of St. Mary’s Sleep Disorders Center) during a session of my “Psychology of Everyday Life” class a few weeks ago.

That means many Whitties are walking around on Monday morning almost as drunk as they were Friday night.

These people are driving.

I would hope that no one at Whitman drinks and drives. We’re educated; we know it’s dumb. We’ve all seen those depressing documentaries that they were required to show us in driver’s ed. And it may not seem like getting little sleep has the same sort of effect as alcohol; Dr. Simon’s news surprised me, as I imagine it does you. But while inadequate sleep may not produce the pleasant buzz that alcohol does, it really is just as impairing. So now I urge you: Don’t drive unless you’ve had a full night’s sleep.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says that “each year 100,000 crashes, which result in more than 1,500 fatalities and 71,000 injuries, are caused by drowsy driving.” That may not be as many as alcohol, but it should be enough to warrant some attention.

During the lecture, I learned that Whitman itself (not surprisingly) has sleep-related accidents at the end of every semester, when students make long, strenuous drives home, right after finals and often through snowy mountain passes. And even if you manage to avoid becoming a victim of drowsy driving, remember: Inadequate sleep ultimately isn’t helping your academics either.

I realize that pulling an all-nighter is necessary every once in a while to get by, but for many who are getting inadequate sleep, academics are not the cause.

I also realize that you’ve got to live your life; sleep can’t always take priority over your social life. There’s nothing wrong with occasionally staying up until 3 a.m. pulling pranks on your section-mates and throwing around glow-in-the-dark Frisbees on Ankeny.

What I really can’t stand are those kids who sit in their rooms through the wee hours of the morning watching YouTube videos on their laptops. Then they skip all their morning classes the next day sleeping in, and in the afternoon they brag to their friends about their late bedtimes.

Even for those who stay up late for sensible reasons: Realize that everything works better in the daytime. You’re going to have more fun with your friends, you’re going to get more schoolwork accomplished, things just look better in the morning.

Earlier this year I would frequently slack off during the day, wasting my time between classes and dawdling through the afternoon. Then I would work my butt off at night trying to finish all that put-off work. This sounds pretty typical of college students, right?

Then I started working in the morning because I had to. It was a crunch week, and I couldn’t get all my work done at night, so I tried the day. It was incredible; I can honestly say that I worked twice as fast as I did at night. That means that if, instead of slacking off, you actually worked between your 9:00 class and your 10:00 class, it would make the difference between a midnight bedtime and a 2:00 a.m. bedtime.

It seems like people usually don’t even realize how awake they are during the day; it’s prime time for working!
Let’s utilize this time and live during the day for a change. It’s time to put an end to our nocturnal habits. Get some sleep, Whitman.

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    Andrew WitherspoonOct 25, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Agreed.

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