Eat, Sleep, Uni, Repeat - The Importance of Sleep

13 January 2020 Health & Wellbeing



The Importance of Sleep


University has just started and although it may be tempting to stay up into the early hours binging Netflix and then lie in until 5pm the next day (what 9AM lecture?) you may be damaging your health in ways you couldn’t even imagine.

It’s all very well joining a gym and eating well (of course these things matter hugely and kudos if you do these, I’ve had cheerios for my dinner every day this week) however most people have absolutely no idea of the effects of sleep deprivation and the endless benefits of getting the recommended amount.

Many studies show that moderate sleep deprivation is basically the equivalent of being drunk! You wouldn’t go into an exam still drunk from the night out (or I’d hope not!) so why enter a class or important test whilst exhausted?

This may seem like a very boring subject (yawn…) and you’re probably thinking that you get plenty of kip and this doesn’t apply to you, however read on and it might just change your life, genuinely.

I recently listened to a podcast about this in bed and it was so interesting it ironically kept me awake.

If you’d like to listen its: The Joe Rogan Experience (Episode #1109 – Matthew Walker) or


The recommended amount

I completely understand that being a student often means ‘Rosie’s till Closies’ and leaving the SU Bar at 3AM in the morning however the National Sleep Foundation recommend that Young adults (18 -25 years) get between 7 and 9 hours sleep.

Did you know that after just one night of only 4 or 5 hours sleep, your natural killer cells – the ones that attack the cancer cells that appear in your body everyday – drop by 70%!


Sleep deprivation

As well as feeling rubbish when you’re tired, not getting at least 7 hours every night has so many negative effects.

Weight gain -  Yes, not sleeping enough can add on the pounds! We have two hormones called ghrelin and leptin. Ghrelin tells us when to eat and leptin tells us when to stop. When you are sleep deprived you have more ghrelin and less leptin. I’m no science graduate but even I can understand what that means. Plus, your metabolism is slower when you’re sleep deprived.

Your mood – There is a huge correlation between sleep and your mood. If you’re not getting enough good sleep then studies suggest that you are more likely to be irritable/angry and it can heavily influence your outlook on life. There is also huge amounts of evidence which associate sleep deprivation with low moods and depression. Popping on another two episodes of your series may not seem too bad at the time but it adds up!

Memory issues – I think we’ve all heard that old chestnut during revision season. That sleeping will help you form the connections that help you remember information, well it’s true and not just for your degree but for everything in your day to day life. A lack of sleep can negatively impact your short and long-term memory. Maybe I can make my peace forgetting a few hours of my night after 1 too many bazalads, however sleep is crucial to help stimulate and preserve memory.


Benefits of getting the right amount of sleep

  • You will probably live longer
  • You are less likely to get sick
  • Your heart will be healthier
  • Your blood pressure will be lower
  • Your memory will improve
  • Your creativity will be spurred
  • You will maintain a healthy weight
  • You will be less stressed
  • Your mood will be improved


If you don’t believe me, google this stuff, it’s honestly all true. The secret to a happy, healthy and motivated life isn’t some unattainable dream. Simply switch off your phones and your laptops, turn of the light and give your body the sleep that it needs.

It will benefit you in every single way possible and get you well on your way to getting that 1st Class Degree.