Do you ever find that no matter how much you sleep, you still struggle with dragging yourself out of bed? If you fall short of the recommended 8 hours of sleep, you wake up feeling like you never even slept. On the other hand, if you get more than 8 hours, you wake up not knowing what day it is, still being exhausted—well you may not but this is how I usually feel. As I lay here at 3 o clock in the morning beginning this blog, still wide awake, I can’t help but wonder why this is. As college students we deal with probably the most messed up sleep schedules of our lives. This is why I am posing the question of which is worse: Over sleeping or under sleeping?
Both cases, whether it be too much or too little sleep, come with consequences. In an article done by HealthStatus.com, it lists several negatives associated with oversleeping. These ranged from effects on metabolism and mood to even more serious issues like the lack of water and oxygen sent to the brain. On the flip side, lack of sleep can be just as impacting on your health. This article published on center4research.org explains how attention span, motor skills and even mental health are just a few of the many aspects harmed.
Even with all of this in mind, we still must take other factors into account. Don’t forget that correlation does NOT equal causation!! As we learned there can be many confounding variables (or a “z” variable) that are actually causing these health effects. The cause of your health problem may not be from the lack/abundance of sleep. Other possible causes of these health issues could be traumatic events, stress, or even just genetics. If we were to look at a case of depression for example, a person may not be depressed due to their lack of sleep; it may just actually be from a chemical imbalance. A result of this depression could be the reason that they are losing sleep. According to this article, there are plenty of possible causes of depression other than lack of sleep.
After much research, I have come to the conclusion that there cannot be a definite answer on whether over sleeping or under sleeping is worse. In this article, it mentions how everyone’s body is unique which means that the proper amount of sleep for each person differs. This being said, certain amounts of sleep may affect people differently. Though both cases can cause a plethora of health defects, neither is better than the other. All I can recommend is that everyone try to figure out what sleep schedule works best for themselves. It is vital that we all stay healthy during college at a time when work and paying attention in class is so important.