Lack of Sleep is a Problem for some Students
When a 20 year old college student tells you he never gets enough sleep, most people would assume that he is too busy partying and enjoying the college night life.
While there is a hard core group of Central Michigan University (CMU) students that study late and party deep into the early morning hours, their behavior is a matter of choice. If they choose to forego a full 8 hours of sleep and occupy their day or night doing other things, that is a conscious choice. For a small segment of the college population, insomnia is a very real problem.
Insomnia is a medical condition that makes it difficult if not impossible to get a good night's sleep. Instead of getting 7 or 8 hours of rest, insomniacs may have to settle for one or two hours of sleep before waking up and trying to fall back asleep. It can be very debilitating when you can not get restful sleep. Some people can function on a few hours of sleep, but most will have some trouble making it through the day.
The lack of sleep can cause one to lose some of their mental acuity and not perform as well in the classroom. Taking tests, participating in class discussions or even reading a book can become a huge challenge if your body tells you that you are tired and need to get some sleep. A student may be able to fake their situation in some circumstances, but if observed long enough, it will become obvious that the student is not getting enough sleep.
Some Central Michigan college students take sleeping pills or other medications (for example melatonin) to allow them to fall asleep. Such is the case with Chantell LaForest a CMU junior from Escanaba, Michigan. Not getting enough sleep makes her irritable and unpleasant. She has trouble concentrating because of a lack of sleep.
Another student who has been living with the sleeping disorder since coming to CMU is Paul Paonessa of Roseville. He has managed to use his willpower to overcome his sleep deprivation and function quite normally in class. That is a bit unusual as most students with sleep deprivation find it hard to function throughout the day. Jared Gussin, a sophomore has been suffering from insomnia since high school. He complains of doing poorly in class and on tests when he does not get an adequate amount of sleep.
What used to be a medical condition that affected older people has now become a problem for students in their teens and early twenties. There are no definitive studies on why young people are succumbing to sleeping problems like insomnia at such a young age. Most that do have trouble sleeping are otherwise healthy. Perhaps it is the added stress we are placing on our young people at all levels of society. Hopefully, sleep disorders are only temporary and those that currently suffer from the condition will soon be able to return to a more normal sleep pattern.