Sleep Well, Brandeis
Last week, Brandeis celebrated "Sleep Week," a week filled with activities promoting slumber and wellness.
Here’s a challenge for you: Ask any Brandeis student what they need more of. Their answers may range from hours in the day to a lot more coffee, and maybe some will just say money, but it seems to be the case that most could use an extra hour or two at night, even if they don’t think so. During “Sleep Week” this past week, organizations ranging from the Department of Community Service to the Brandeis Mountain Club held activities promoting the benefits of sleep, why we need it and why we should take it a lot more seriously than we currently do. “Sleep Week” events included free candy from Community Service, yoga classes and a campus-wide pajama day.
“This whole week [was] about your physical and mental health,” said Ysabel Munoz ’21, president of the Brandeis Mountain Club and a Bridges To Wellness member, who spoke to the Justice at Wednesday’s “Camp In at the Library” event, at which the Mountain Club offered students trail mix and tips on how to take proper power naps. “Sleep Week” was of great importance to Munoz, who saw it as an opportunity to highlight the significance of something that Brandeis students seem to be missing the message on.
Sleep, according to Health and Wellness Promotion at Brandeis, provides the energy necessary to manage stress well, helps consolidate memories, boosts your immune system and improves motor skills, among other benefits. There are clear benefits to sleep, and we all know that we should be getting more of it than we are right now. So why aren’t we taking that advice?
“In general, across this campus, students chronically prioritize the urgent over the important,” said fellow Mountain Club member Stephanie Woodland ’21. “Deadlines [and] assignments over mental, physical, spiritual and communal health.” Woodland feels that poor mental health is an epidemic among young people in America, and feels that it would be helped by having spaces to “exist and be ourselves in a meaningful way.” Woodland added, “Events like this are so important because they offer us the chance to slow down and breathe.”
Mountain Club spoke highly of the importance of making time and space for the things we love — spending meaningful time with friends that doesn’t involve studying. Anna Dorosenko ’22, a Mountain Club member, told the Justice that Sleep Week taught her the power of yoga, and Munoz said she’d learned more about effective power napping. A 20 minute nap, she explained, will have the same effect as a cup of coffee.
Members of Bridges to Wellness handed out free sleep kits to students on Thursday, Nov. 8. Young adults should aim to sleep between seven and nine hours, they instructed — and they said naps can improve productivity. Other tips that BTW offered include creating a routine before sleep, unwinding mentally by completing a low energy task like reading or journaling and turning off all screens 30-60 minutes before bedtime. It may sound difficult, but as Woodland said, “The best way to create a new habit is to start.”
There is one clear take away from Brandeis Sleep Week: No matter how many of your points one spends on iced coffee, it’ll never make up for the missing hours of sleep.