The campus that never sleeps

It’s official. The fall semester is in full swing and with it comes busy schedules, early classes, late night procrastination, and lots of coffee. And while this is a lifestyle we’ve become accustomed to as university students, maybe we don’t realize the negative effects of our poor sleeping habits.

I can’t count how many times I’ve woken up to my alarm blaring, putting me in a state of panic, and forcing me to push the snooze button—after I’ve mentally calculated how much time I need to quickly get dressed and out the door, all for those precious extra minutes of sleep.

As university students we should aim for six to eight hours of sleep a night. It may seem unrealistic for those of us who have a part-time job or two. Between classes, working, commuting, and never-ending assignments, there never seems to be enough time to catch those important ZZZs.

That might be normal for those of us juggling class, work, and a social life, but constantly being sleep-deprived is actually very detrimental to our health. Already a full-time student and Editor-in-Chief of The Medium, I also balance another stressful job working behind the scenes at the Toronto International Film Festival (as an assistant producer for Red Carpet Diary). Needless to say, like many students I have a jam-packed schedule, and by that token sleep is usually sacrificed and comes as a luxury on most nights. In the last few weeks I’ve been overly exhausted, getting only about four to six hours of sleep a night. I’m not complaining—I love everything about TIFF. But it’s times like these that sleep becomes low priority. We all know what it feels like to not get enough sleep, and it wouldn’t come as a surprise if university students were the most sleep-deprived group in Canada.

What we aren’t as aware of is that sleep deprivation has negative effects on everyone. Sacrificing our sleep can affect academic performance: who would attend their 9 a.m. course after staying up all night writing a paper? Your mood and concentration when driving can also be poor, especially when it takes an average of 30 minutes to find a parking spot on campus on most days—if you’re lucky. Other effects include irritability, anxiety, and sometimes weight gain due to eating late at night without exercise.

Our bodies give us plenty of signs that we are sleep-deprived, but since we’re so used to it we often ignore the signs. If you’re constantly hungry even after you eat, feeling edgy, spacing out, and finding yourself exhausted by mid-afternoon, these are all signs. I’m exhausted myself, and writing this has taken me almost all day. The solution? Set a goal for yourself to get a good night’s rest and see how you feel in the morning. We can never really be healthy unless we sleep healthy.

Sweet Dreams,

Saaliha Malik

  • Shawn

    You guys are so out of touch with the students it’s not even funny. There is a parking catastrophe on campus that is affecting hundreds of students and I’ve heard nothing about it on here.

    Everyday, I struggle to find a parking spot, and from what I’ve heard from other drivers, it’s the same situation for everyone. I’ve seen many people out of frustration, just parking where they can even if that means parking in a non-designated spot and are being ticketed every time they do it, but they had no choice, there were no spots available.

    Why has the student union done nothing to address this problem?

    Do you guys not care or are you just totally isolated from the student body that you don’t realize this is going on?

    If you want to resonate with students, you need to talk about issues that we care about, parking which is a constantly ignored issue, IS the number #1 concern for UTM students.

    My suggestion would be to temporarily suspend ticketing for people parking in non-designated spots but have paid for their time. I’ve seen construction vehicles parking horizontally taking up entire rows of spots while the rest of us circle and circle.

    Why are students being punished for the administrative screw ups of allegedly the entire elected student government as well as the contractor who’s behind schedule?

    If I were the editor of the medium, I would be asking those in power what they are doing to help the students trapped in a Catch-22, circle around and miss class, or park in a non-designated spot and receive a 20 dollar ticket, just a suggestion.

    If you don’t believe me, why not head out to one of the lots and see the problem for yourself.