How much did you sleep last night? Five hours? Four? Three? Probably not enough. Most days people don’t sleep enough at EMIS. Most days it feels like the IB takes over our sleep. However, we need sleep to survive, specifically to survive the IB and the busy lives that we lead here. The effects that sleep has on us and our wellbeing, both mentally and physically, are endless. Here, you’ll understand a few of the many reasons as to why we need to sleep.
One of the most important reasons as to why we sleep is to improve our memory and help us learn better. When you are sleeping, your brain strengthens your memory by sorting out the information learnt during the day so that you will remember all of the important information you’ve taken in. This process of sorting out information is called memory consolidation. This helps you learn and remember information from the previous day, and the longer you sleep, the more and better the information will be remembered and learnt. So, if you want to remember all those important concepts in a subject, sleep will help with this, not staying up all night stressing about the test the next day, as many of us do.
Another benefit of sleep that, again, affects our IB life, is that it will help us learn better and perform better in tests. Studies have shown that those who sleep after learning something performed better on tests and learned more than those who did not sleep enough. If you really want to see improvement in your grades, try sleeping longer and you’ll probably see a change. Getting that longed-for seven might be a bit easier with an improved sleeping schedule.
Now, going into the emotional benefits of sleep. If one does not sleep enough, it causes negative changes in people’s moods and concentration. It causes impatience, irritation, lack of concentration and motivation, depression, moodiness and lots of mood swings that affect people in negative ways. This makes people have a harder time doing things and living the life they would normally want to because of the effects that lack of sleep has on them. We may think that we are experiencing these changes due to other reasons, but sleep affects them as well and lack of sleep will make it all worse. Ever been with someone moody and sad? Usually there’s a reason as to why they are like that; if they haven’t slept enough it is probably making them feel even worse, so remind them about the importance of this habit that many people here at EMIS forget.
Many of us have experienced stress at one point or another. With final exams around the corner, it is important to know that sleep actually helps the body relax and decreases levels of stress, stabilising people’s blood pressure. Even if you have about a million things to do, try to get a decent amount of sleep since you will be able to study, write tests, IAs, university applications, and all the other things that you have to do a lot more efficiently, especially as you will feel less stressed.
The last aspect that I want to touch on briefly is how sleep actually helps decrease chances of getting diseases. Living in a boarding school makes it very easy to spread diseases (colds, fever, stomach flu, etc.) to each other. If we don’t sleep enough, our immune function is altered and the activity of our body’s killer cells also changes. This results in us being able to get a disease a lot easier than if we had slept enough.
Think about it: our body is supposed to sleep an average of eight hours a day. Our body has this function for a specific reason, so why should we abuse it and not sleep enough? We obviously sleep to improve our physical and mental health. If we have the chance to do this, why waste it?
Written by: Isabella Akesson