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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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The Truth About the Fact: A Journal of Literary Nonfiction is an international journal committed to the idea that excellence in the art of letters can play a vital role in transforming the planet we share.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Sleeping Beauty Phenomenon

Beep, beep, beep… my alarm goes off and I roll over in my bed hoping and praying that this is just a bad dream. I cannot believe that it is already time to wake up since I just went to bed a mere four hours earlier. I get out of bed and walk over to my desk where my alarm clock is strategically placed for I know if I do not have to physically get out of my bed to turn it off I would never wake up to my alarm. However, as of late even this strategic method does not seem to be working. After turning off my clock, not putting it on snooze, I crawl back into bed telling myself it will only be for a moment. As you can probably predict, I fall back to sleep and wake up hours later. It is now around 1pm and I have missed my first class! I slept right through it and still do not feel rested. I rush out of bed determined not to miss anything else because of my sleep issues but to no avail. My lack of energy slows me down and I still end up around five minutes late to my late lunch plans. This is how most of my morning’s start, just like they did today.

It was only just last year when I fell very ill from lack of sleep. Growing up I had always been a night owl. The idea of going to bed early and then waking up early repulsed me. I had most of my energy at night and I was always happiest and more productive then. Due to this I started going to bed later and later and being at college didn’t help this. I would wait until at least after 10pm to start papers or study. Then I would work late into the night and normally would not go to bed until around 3am. Soon the issue was that I could not fall asleep anytime before 3am. I would lie in bed for hours not being able to sleep. The problem? I would always have to wake up before 9am in order to be able to make it my classes. I started sleeping through all my alarms. I had to buy an alarm clock with the most annoying beep in the world and turn it on as high as I could just to wake up. This, unfortunately, only solved the problem of me waking up. Soon it led to negative physical side effects. My body, which was being deprived of sleep, was constantly exhausted and not getting the hours it needed. My sleep schedule was so off that I could not fall asleep early and my classes made it so I could not sleep in. I would wake up to the blast of my alarm, get out of bed and then find myself passed out on the ground or with my head stuffed in my fridge trying to cool down. I would get so dizzy I could not stand and I would get heat flashes that made me feel as though my skin were on fire and I could not cool it down. I was sick all the time and would catch myself passing out randomly in class and having a constant headache that would not subside. I felt as though was dying: dying from lack of sleep.

Sleep deprivation is a common condition among college students. It is their busy and rushed
lifestyles that cause them to put sleep on the backburner. However, this is a dangerous thing to do.
Humans cannot last without sleep and after a while our bodies will shut down and we will have to retain sleep somehow or crash. There are many physiological effects that come from sleep deprivation. These include aching muscles, confusion, memory loss, depression, hallucinations, hand tremors, headaches, increased blood pressure, increased stress hormone levels, irritability, nystagmus (rapid involuntary rhythmic eye movement), obesity and an increased risk of having diabetes. Also sleep deprivation can affect cognitive function in the brain. Sleep is very important and without it we would not be able to function how we do on a normal day to do basis.

By Alyssa Bermudes


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