Go ahead, sleep through that early morning alarm.
At Saturday's Pregame Showcase, UT's Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences, Theresa Lee, Ph.D., presented a lecture titled "Tick Tock: Sleep Across the Lifespan and the Role of the Internal Clock."
As a professor of psychology, Lee discussed sleep cycles and the importance of sleep throughout a lifetime.
"Sleep is a fundamental drive that is necessary for good health," she said. "If you deliberately block animals or humans from sleeping, bad things begin to happen very quickly."
A volunteer from the Dean Student Advisory Counsel, Loren Lee, a junior in English and French who has no relation to Theresa Lee, helped with registration before listening to Theresa Lee's talk.
"It was interesting," Loren Lee said. "It kind of confirmed the things that I've always thought about sleep. It was really interesting to see the scientific data behind it, the chemicals, and all that."
Theresa Lee also stressed taking short naps throughout the day.
"Twenty, 30, 40 minute naps, if you're doing it regularly, along with having only seven hours of sleep at night for example, is a very good way to keep your sleep pattern together and very natural," Theresa Lee said.
Surprised, Loren Lee admitted the lack of naps in her current schedule.
"I've never been one to take naps before, but now I'm going to really consider it," Loren Lee said.
Frequently asked to resolve sleeping problems, Theresa Lee offered tips for falling asleep and feeling well-rested.
Lee suggested avoiding alcohol, caffeine and foods that cause indigestion and exercise right before bed, while seeking comfortable bedding in addition to a cool, dark and quiet bedroom.
"It is both important that you're getting enough hours of sleep and that you sleep at a regular time; the two work together," Theresa Lee advised. "Make sure you're sleeping at the same time every day and in an appropriate environment."
Theresa Lee explained that after a certain number of hours without sleep, the body suffers from slowed reaction times, impaired memory and understanding, decreased performance, vigilance and motivation.
"Eighteen hours of sustained wakefulness, not an abnormal day for most of us, impairs our performance to the same level as a .05 percent blood alcohol concentration," Theresa Lee said. "That's legal, but there is a slight impairment. At 24 hours, just six more hours, not atypical of a doctor, a policeman, an emergency worker, 24 hours without sleep and you are over the limit in terms of your reaction time and ability to respond to things in front of your visual field."
Fatigue also makes learning and cognition difficult. To potentially boost scores, Theresa Lee stated that many schools are pushing for later starting times.
"Lots of school districts across the country are now shifting the school time for middle school and high school students, and what we find is that they do much better in school," Theresa Lee said. "The first hour of classes, their attention is at higher rates. They get better grades in school and have a lot less problems if you just let them get one more hour of sleep."
Crucial to overall wellness, Theresa Lee advocated viewing sleep as a necessary component for mental and physical health.
Theresa Lee added: "Sleep is really better than an apple a day to keep the doctor away."