Leibee: CSU might not be promoting healthy sleeping patterns

Katrina Leibee

Editor’s Note: All opinion section content reflects the views of the individual author only and does not represent a stance taken by The Collegian or its editorial board.

As everyone on campus begins to prepare for finals week, it is easy to stay up late studying, working and procrastinating without thinking about the ramifications of not getting enough sleep.

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Colorado State University may not be helping students fight this unhealthy habit of staying up extremely late studying. Places such as the Morgan Library and Morgan’s Grind are open late during finals, and the Lory Student Center even offers extended hours for students pulling a late-night study session.

As busy students, everyone is guilty of staying up late studying, ignoring the fact that not sleeping enough will actually affect our memory and comprehension of the information.

The most important stage for memory in our 90-minute sleep cycle is rapid eye movement, when we process and store the day’s events.

“If you’re not sleeping long enough or well enough during the night, you might not be in the REM stage long enough for a lot of those memories to consolidate over,” CSU psychology teaching fellow Julie Prosser said. “A lot of those memories may be lost or become fuzzy.”

Although it may seem necessary to stay up late cramming for a final, it is actually more beneficial to sleep and allow your brain to process and consolidate the information that you were able to study.

“If you’re staying up to study, and you’re staying up until two or three o’clock in the morning, that study time is wasted because you’re not going to consolidate that memory,” Prosser said.

“If you’re staying up to study, and you’re staying up until two or three o’clock in the morning, that study time is wasted, because you’re not going to consolidate that memory”- Julie Prosser, CSU Psychology Teaching Fellow

While it is not the job of the school to put a bed time on students, the school does not necessarily promote a healthy culture of sleep and study patterns that are beneficial to students’ memory and learning.

The library is open generally until two in the morning, and many days during finals week, Morgan’s Grind is open until midnight.

If students know they have access to coffee and a study space so late at night, there is not much of an urge for student’s to get their studying done earlier in the day to allow themselves time to sleep.

First-year students about to enter their first college finals week may be thinking that studying late at night is the norm in college, especially because the library and Morgan’s Grind are open so late. However, not sleeping enough is likely to negatively impact academic performance

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“I think it’s nice that it’s available to them, because some students really do need that space,” Prosser said. “I don’t think that it’s the healthiest option because I do think it promotes an atmosphere of it being okay to study ‘til two in the morning.” 

Some students do legitimately need the space to study late at night because they have busy schedules during the day, or their dorm room may not be an effective study space.

It is considerate of the library to stay open for these students, but keeping Morgan’s Grind open until midnight during finals week is unnecessary and promotes unhealthy sleeping and studying patterns.

While professors, teachers and adults telling us to leave the library and get some sleep during finals week may just sound like nagging, scientifically, they have a point.

 Katrina Leibee can be reached at letters@collegian.com or Twitter @KatrinaLeibee.