Written by QCMHA Sponsorship Coordinator Kieran McSweeney
Sleep, this amazing thing that happens every night (or almost every night) that no one really thinks about. Sleep is one of the most crucial components of our daily life that is key to our overall well-being, yet it is always the first thing that is sacrificed when there are other priorities.
I’ve been there. As a commerce student, there is always so much on the go; it's all gas, no breaks. Every night is a dilemma between finishing an assignment/studying more/going out, or getting a good sleep. I, for one, seem not to prioritize sleep as much as I should, and it shows. I always get sick more easily, it affects my relationship with my friends, and in the end, that extra studying never seems to help because lack of sleep affects my academic performance.
The last straw was when my professor pointed at me as I was leaving my 6:30 pm - 9:30 pm lecture and said, “You need to get some sleep.” That’s how you know it’s bad. I knew I needed to make a change to my daily routine, or I was on the road to being burnt out.
To get a little sciencey on you, there are four stages of sleep, and the fourth stage (REM sleep) gets longer throughout the night. This stage in the sleep cycle is critical for processing memories and resetting our mental state for the day. This is why it is key for university students to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night in order to live a healthy, happy and sustainable life.
I’ve shifted my mindset so that sleep is now a key priority. It needs to be in order for me to maintain positive mental health. I’m now getting my 8-9 hours a night, and it really makes a difference. I have a lot more energy throughout the day, and I just feel more like myself.
It is essential to practice good sleep hygiene, aim to go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. Know that you can’t do everything; maybe you have to miss stage rage to get a little extra shut-eye, or maybe you have to skip your workout that day, just know it’s ok.
Please don’t try and contact me after 12 am; I’ll be catching some ZZZs.