Living: Less sleep isn’t more

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A lack of sleep causes poor performance.

By Mandi Flores

Not sleeping enough can cause problems in daily life.

Getting as little as six hours of sleep a night can be harmful, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine warns.

“After two weeks of sleeping six hours or less a night, students feel as bad and perform as poorly as someone who has gone without sleep for 48 hours,” wrote Lawrence Epstein, M.D., medical director of Sleep Health Centers in Brighton, Mass., an instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, on the academy’s website.

Dr. Thomas Billimek, chair of psychology and sociology, recommends eight hours of sleep a night.

There are ways to get more sleep.

Overall good health habits are needed to fall asleep and stay asleep, Billimek said Feb. 21.

“Slowing everything down for the day, exercising and not eating big meals before bed,” Billimek suggested can help.

An informal survey Feb. 24 on the mall found 26 of 40 students said they get more than four hours of sleep a night, although 12 said they do not get more than six.

Two men said they make sure to get at least eight hours every night.

One of the reasons students do not get enough sleep is because they lead very busy lives, Billimek said.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, other tips including keeping the room dark, the temperature 60-67 degrees, avoiding naps late in the afternoon and sticking to a sleep schedule every day, even weekends.

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