Sleepless in Cabrini

By Elizabeth Brachelli
March 16, 2006

The computer screen starts looking as if there are black dots all over it. Next, I’m noticing my eyes are swelling up like baseballs. I tell myself, “Please don’t shut yet, eyes. We have one more paper to write. We can do this. Just another hour.”

Of course that’s at 3 a.m. and I just came home from a long, grueling day of classes and work. I only have one more paper to write, and I can hardly keep my eyes open. My baseball eyes are swelling to the size of basketballs. Yet, I feel better because I know I’m not the only one with basketball-swollen eyes. There are many of us sleepless in Cabrini and facing the same thing: the dreaded sleep debt.

There is no doubt that today a large number of Cabrini students are dealing with the same sleep debt that I am facing. Sleep debt is what occurs when students don’t obtain the amount of sleep needed. It was reported by Stanford University that the average sleep requirement for college students is well over eight hours and the majority of students would fall within the range of this value plus or minus one hour. No wonder I crave sleep. Eight hours is normal? Now, I’m trying to think back to the last time I had eight hours of sleep.hmmm… that must have been in a dream.

I think after a long day the most beautiful thing to see is my bed. It looks amazing with the fluffy pillows that I know are cold. Then there is the sight of the fresh bed sheets being unattended to. Those poor sheets; they’re all by themselves. Then the biggest downfall for me is the sight of the cozy blankets. I know I could crawl into my bed at any point. Nobody is in it. It’s waiting for me. It’s time to pay my dues. The sleep debt must be taken care of. I think about jumping into my bed. But then it hits me. I can’t. There is so much to be done. I have a paper to write. It’s the biggest teaser.

It’s even sadder that the days I have half hour breaks in between classes or at work I find that it’s the perfect opportunity for sleep. Sometimes I think it’s a great opportunity for more school work, but for some reason, sleep always seems more appealing. The best is when I go to my car to take a nap in the commuter parking lot, and I see another student with the same idea in the car next to me. The student has drool and all. At least they’re dealing with their sleep debt. It gets even sadder when I’m at work and I think the lunch tables look like a gorgeous place to rest my head for my break. Even though people eat off those tables I think to myself, “What a great headrest.” Then I zonk out on it for my break. It’s quite refreshing, and the best part is my eyes are only swollen like baseballs, not basketballs.

At least I know I’m facing sleep debt with the majority of college students. It was reported by Stanford University that after studying a sample of undergraduates, nurseing and medical students, 80 percent were sleep deprived. It was also reported by Stanford University that the way to get rid of sleep debt is by meeting the required hours of sleep and getting extra sleep. However, it seems as if there is never enough time in the day to get that much sleep. Where does the time go?

For the sleep deprived in Cabrini, I feel your pain. Our all nighters have paid off throughout the semesters even though we’re paying the price for sleep debt. We’re sleepless in Cabrini.

Posted to the web by Shane Evans

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Elizabeth Brachelli

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