Sleep Fundamentals

Sleep is a natural periodic state of rest for the mind and body. Sleep is also known to heighten the growth and rejuvenation of the immune, skeletal, and muscular systems. When you receive high quality sleep this further strengthens your immune system, balances your hormones, increases energy, and improves the function in your brain.

       Why do we Sleep?
       Sleep-Wake Cycle
       Consequences of Sleep Deprivation  

Why do we Sleep?

Circadian Rhythm:
The circadian rhythm refers to our internal biological clock that regulates the timing of periods of sleepiness and wakefulness throughout a twenty four hour period. The circadian rhythm dips and rises at different times of the day. It is natural for there to be dips in energy throughout the day, but if we achieve sufficient sleep the dips may be less intense. 

Sleep-Wake Cycle

Stages of Sleep:
Sleep is divided into four stages, each associated with different types of mental and physical activity. Each stage typically lasts from 90 to 110 minutes and is a vital part of getting quality sleep.

Sleep cycles.jpg

Consequences of Sleep Deprivation*

Lower Thinking Ability Research shows that after just 24 hours of sleep deprivation, there is an overall reduction of 6% in glucose reaching the brain. Glucose is one of the main energy sources for your brain to function well [1].
Slowed Reaction time According to research, individuals that were sleep deprived took 14% longer to complete a task compared to individuals that were well rested [2].
Increased Likelihood of Errors The same research mentioned above further showed that individuals who were sleep deprived made 20% more errors compared to individuals that were well rested [2].
Short-term memory loss Sleep helps the brain form connections and link events, facts, and sensory data together. Without sleep the brain struggles with forming these connections. This makes it difficult to learn new things at a fast pace.
Suppression of immune system Without sleep your body will direct energy sources elsewhere, often at the expense of your immune system. This will make you more susceptible to illnesses, such as a cold or the flu, which can lead to missed classes and late assignments.  

Tips and Tools for Better Sleep
Check out our additional resources to learn more about sleep!

If you or someone you know is in need of additional support with sleep concerns please contact Student Counseling Service at 773-702-9800 or Student Health Service at 773-702-4156 to set up an appointment.

[1] Heffernan, Margaret. “Too Little Sleep: The New Performance Killer.” CBS News, 2011.
[2] Taffinder, NJ, McManus, IC, Gul, Y, Russel, RCG, Darzi, A. “Effect of sleep deprivation on surgeons’ dexterity on laparoscopy simulator.” The Lancet.

*This list is not exhaustive