By Diya Craft
TJC Student Dekevian “Dizzy” Jones remembers the time when he went “crazy” after being awake for four days.
“I was watching ‘Adventure Time’ (on television) and Jake the dog, he looked at me and his hand jumped out of the screen at me.”
His problem was lack of sleep.
“I was up working on my 3-D modeling homework, so I got a lot done,” Jones said. “I was awake for a little bit under four days. … His hand came out of the screen and I was like, ‘Alright. I’m going to bed.’”
According to sleepfoundation.org, adults should get eight to 10 hours of sleep, each night. However, with tests, finals, and homework for multiple classes, students may feel like staying awake all night is an efficient way to get in extra hours of studying.
However, staying awake causes more harm than good in the long run.
TJC housing office worker Ross Devenport described his experience with sleep deprivation.
“We went two consecutive nights without sleep working on an economics project,” said Devenport. “Other than being tired, there was a lot of forgetfulness, like you miss some really obvious things like losing your keys. … After that long without sleep, it was hard to get to sleep.”
Dr. Stephanie Eijsink, the doctor at TJC health clinic, is not surprised by what happened to Devenport.
“They have actually done studies on people who are kept awake,” she said. “They start to experience these little micro-sleep episodes where they’ll clock out and they don’t even remember that they fall asleep.”
Dr. Eijsink said sleep deprivation affects are bodies and brains.
“There is a certain part of your brain that triggers your necessity for sleep,” she said. “So that’s why you get sleepy when you’re sleep deprived, those portions of the brain basically begin to shut off.”
Editor’s Note: To better understand what it’s like to be sleep deprived, Diya Craft made a decision to stay awake for 72 hours and record her experiences. Below is her first-person account of what happened.
Day 1: I began at 5 a.m. on Day 1 and was functioning normally until 10 p.m. when I began to feel sleepy. It was at this point I began drinking caffeine. Whenever I would begin to feel sleepy during this experience I would alternate between drinking coffee and energy drinks. This worked, but I also know that over an extended time this practice can also be dangerous to the body.
Day 2: Things began to get weird. Colors that we’re normal looking began to look brighter, neon and would sometimes look 3-D. As I sat in my classes I began to feel irritable, anxious and twitchy. I noticed myself blinking more than normal, and I got these splitting migraine headaches every few hours, that would get bad enough to the point that I would have to stop what I’m doing and try to relax.
Day 2 also came with a loss of appetite and forgetfulness. I only ate one meal, and couldn’t remember the simple things that I would normally remember such as locking the door when it locks automatically, or where my I.D. was even though it was around my neck. The good thing that came out of this day was how happy I felt due to the amount of caffeine in my system. The caffeine was likely just covering up how terrible my body felt.
Day 3: This was the worst. I found myself staring into space every few minutes. I was very emotional and cranky. The headaches continued and with each new headache came a feeling of sleepiness. I got lost going to class, and was extra jittery due to the caffeine. My vision was beginning to blur and I was losing my motor skills. When I was finally able to sleep, I slept for 16 hours – from 2 p.m. to -6 a.m. the next day. When I woke up, I felt hung-over without a stomachache.
I can see why students would want to miss sleep in order to have more time to get their school work done. But, after experiencing what I did, having those few extra hours aren’t worth the toll it takes on the body.