Sleep plays important role in immune functioning and mental health, which is why good sleep habits are important. The more that we learn, the more we realize the importance of sleep for human health and the consequences of its deprivation. An eight-hour sleep is considered the required sleep schedule for a healthy metabolism. Though in the case of many of us it depends and varies according to our habits and rituals.
Covid 19 pandemic and the curfews have made our social life shrunken to phone screens. It had most affected the students who got to shift their entire school life to online classes, causing a rapid change in their lifestyle. Many classes are now held asynchronously that students can watch them on their own time and at their own pace. And more than that students tend to sacrifice sleep for grades.
Circadian rhythms work as the body’s internal biological clock, telling us when to wake, sleep, and how to function at different times. Online learning has the potential to disrupt circadian rhythms through the blue light emitted from screens that students use while studying and working on assignments at night before going to sleep. Changes in circadian rhythms affect various aspects of life, including clarity of thinking, coordination, eating habits, and hormone release.
Sleep deficiency and deprivation have also been linked to increased risks for cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. In addition, it is not possible to “catch up” on sleep, meaning that sleeping in on the weekend does not make up for missed sleep during the school week. Missing out on sleep is dangerous, it has long-term health effects. The online environment is allowing this pattern of sleep deprivation to manifest in new, potentially more severe ways.
A new research study from Simon Fraser University suggests that students learning remotely become night owls but do not sleep more despite the time saved commuting, working, or attending social events. According to the studies, students should prioritize and regulate their sleep as much as possible. Having a schedule for asynchronous lectures to avoid procrastination and all-nighters adhering to a regular exercise routine, and implementing a set time for waking up and going to bed may help students achieve better sleep and overall health.