Late night food runs, homework loads the size of Mt. Everest, and a roommate who insists on playing bombastic rock music until 2 a.m.; each of these is synonymous with college life.

Lack of sleep "makes you more prone to infection and weight gain."

But while you’re wasting away the night eating gratuitous amounts of doughnuts, rocking out to that guilty pleasure song, or slaving away at that assignment you put off, your body is slowly decaying. The sleep deficit you have no intention of catching up on until May is probably a bigger deal than you think it is. “Your brain needs to organize everything you’ve experienced, thought, and put into it during the day,” said psychology professor Pat Myers. “When you are asleep your brain has time to sort through everything, and figure out what goes where.” This is how short term memories become long term memories. Biologically, sleep allows the brain to recharge its batteries. “The brain does not shut down during sleep,” said Dr. Sarah Comstock. “It changes function—this is how your body replenishes hormones.” This renewal is very important. “Research shows eight to nine hours per night is good for college aged students. It also shows the average college student only gets six,” said Myers. When the body experiences a lack of rest on this scale, adverse health effects result. According to the National Center on Sleep Disorders Research, “extreme sleep deprivation can cause an apparent state of paranoia and hallucinations in otherwise healthy individuals.” More specifically, that troublesome extra five pounds and three-week cold you’ve been battling may be a sign you’re not getting enough sleep. “The stress hormone cortisol increases significantly when you don’t get enough sleep,” said Comstock. “This makes you more prone to infection and weight gain.” But in the midst of term papers, thought and culture exams, and reading that Leviticus book, it may feel impossible to fall asleep. Occasional bouts with insomnia are common. The National Center on Sleep Disorders and Research reports “about 30 to 40 percent of adults indicate some degree of sleep loss within any given year, and about 10 to 15 percent indicate that their sleep loss is chronic or severe.” There are a number of strategies that can stave off these restless nights. “Reading before bed slows the brain waves, which can help you fall asleep,” said Myers. Other ways to aid sleep are monitoring your caffeine intake in a sleep journal, doing homework at a desk rather than in bed (so your brain associates your bed with sleep), and exercising regularly (but not right before bed). So, understanding what sleep loss does to the body, what should students at Corban and across the country do? To put it bluntly, “sleep more so you don’t gain the freshman 15,” said Comstock.