Some people do not realize how beneficial sleep can be until they are deprived of it. As people grow older, the amount of stress in their lives develops, and some find it hard to fit sleep into their busy schedules.
Sophomore public relations major Vivienne Cookmeyer has had a lot on her plate in the two years she has attended Southern Miss. She has had a job on top of taking 16-19 hours at school and even being an Honors College student.
Cookmeyer said there is not a single night she goes to bed before midnight because of her studies. She has to wake up early the next morning for school or work. Cookmeyer said she finds it hard to balance the two.
“I have anxieties just like any other person my age, and in my life, I have learned how to handle it, but I do still have numerous breakdowns every semester from stress and struggling to balance all of it,” Cookmeyer said. “I wish there were shorter breaks more often, so that I and other students could catch up on sleep and maintain good mental health.”
What is Southern Miss doing to help the issue? Of course, it is impossible to change everyone’s sleep patterns, but people being educated on the risks of poor sleeping patterns can help immensely.
Southern Miss counselor and suicide prevention coordinator, Amanda Kirtland, has had plenty of experience counseling students with poor sleep habits.
Kirtland said that although some students can recover from a night or two of poor sleep with little to no issues, others will experience major consequences that greatly affect mental health.
“It has been my experience that the majority of students I see have poor sleep quality. Some students report issues getting enough hours of sleep at night, and others report trouble staying asleep,” Kirtland said. “Sleep directly impacts our functionality. If you’re getting less than adequate sleep, your mood may become altered, your anxiety will increase, your reaction times slow down, your brain processes information more slowly, and you can feel more agitated.”
Southern Miss sophomore and accounting major Mitchell Overby said he knows the importance of sleep, yet still seems to have trouble getting the right amount. Overby said he feels as though he cannot get everything done in a day’s time, so he pulls an all-nighter to make up for the things he could not get to during the day.
“I’m usually miserable the next day if I pull an all-nighter. I’m more emotional, and I can’t focus in class. Then I try to catch up on my sleep during the next day, and that affects how much work I get done for that day,” Overby said. “Missing sleep to get work done affects more negatively in the long run.” Student Counseling Services is located in Bond Hall South on Ray Guy Way, and they welcome any student who needs help with mental health, studies, sleep or other problems.