The effects of your sleeping schedule on your mood and well-being
By Sergio Ribeiro
From Palmela, Portugal
Sleep deprivation, irregular sleeping schedules, constant tiredness, and exhaustion. All these aspects are highly prevalent among students, mostly high school and college ones. The effects of sleep deprivation are highly problematic for them, seeing as not only their personal life but also their academic success might be impacted. However, they fail to see or understand when the lack of sleep becomes constant, rather than a one-time situation. Then, it works just like addiction. It doesn’t stop.
Sleep deprivation is threatening and vicious. Although we might not see it right ahead of us, it does impact our health and well-being; if not corrected and happening repeatedly, it will likely turn into a sleeping disorder. A good night’s sleep is essential for our happiness and well-being, to succeed in our daily activities – in school, in work, in our interpersonal relationships; anything. As little kids, it’s normal to feel that staying up late makes us feel more adult, more grown-up – but what once felt like a rush, what once felt like a dream, has now turned into a constant nightmare, prevalent in students’ daily lives.
Serotonin is a neurotransmitter used by the brain and the nervous system to communicate with each other. It is the hormone that maintains our overall mood and general well-being, and low levels of it have proven to be associated with depression. Despite low levels of serotonin not causing depression directly, providing extra supplements of the neurotransmitter treats depression around 70% of the time. Moreover, low serotonin has been found binding in specific areas of the brain among people suffering from obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) and social anxiety disorder. Apart from that, people with autism spectrum disorder were also found to be more likely to have lower levels of serotonin in certain areas of their brains. Overall, a low level of the hormone will cause a general decrease in our mood and well-being, and in our general state of happiness, thus getting us to be more susceptible to a wide range of mental illnesses.
This goes to show that serotonin is an important factor in the mediation of satisfaction, happiness, and optimism. And what is one of the root causes of low serotonin levels? Irregular sleeping schedules and sleep deprivation. That’s it. What we often regard as ‘staying up late’ to finish an assignment or study for a test, will have its consequences, which can be damaging. Insufficient and low-quality sleep will lead to low serotonin levels in your body which, in turn, will lead to a wide range of symptoms: from stress and anxiety to nausea, vomiting, and others.
To sum up, consistent and repeated sleep deprivation must not be regarded by anyone, especially high-school and college students, as a measure that should be often taken. Compromising your sleeping hours will have undesirable aftereffects, and after all, even if all your assignments are done and the tests all studied for, is it worth the consequences? Is it worth the effects it has on your body and well-being?