For college students, trying to keep up with their academic, professional, and social life, sleep is the first thing to refuse from. Numerous sleepless nights in a row spent over the books or partying with friends are not a big deal for an average student.
In a short perspective, it may seem a good idea that helps to extend your day and bring maximum to your life. In the long run, however, sleep deprivation is the main hinder of progress and effective learning.
Every human being benefits from a healthy sleeping routine. Good and sound sleep improves thinking and memory, facilitates studying, lowers stress, and boosts energy level. It is essential in maintaining strong immunity, physical briskness, and cheerful mood during the day.
What can happen if you constantly lack sleep?
For an average student, pulling all-nighters on the eve of exam to maximize their learning potential is as natural as breathing. And it’s the worst idea ever, insists Jakke Tamminen, the Royal Holloway University psychology lecturer.
In his research, Tamminen is studying how sleep influences memory functions, especially in learning a foreign language. Thus, a group of students was asked to stay sleepless during one night after learning some vocabulary. Later, their ability to recall the material was checked. The test has shown, that even several further nights of healthy sleep didn’t help. The participants were far worse in recalling the information than the group of students who slept normally all the time. With his research, he proved that sleep is crucial for good memorizing and easy access to those memories. Additionally, students that have enough sleep are usually more creative in problem-solving.
As opposed to this, students, regularly deprived of sleep, can face numerous consequences impacting their emotional and behavioral stability, memory, and learning abilities. They tend to suffer from regular fatigue and mood swings. They lack concentration and attentiveness, often feel anxiety and irritation, as well as complain for bad memory. Lingering sleep deprivation can even cause hallucinations.
Students should remember that regularly disregarding normal sleep, they drive themselves into sleep debt. Their body, fighting with endless tiredness and weakness, will try to fall asleep on every occasion. Apart from the huge inconvenience of such microsleeps, they greatly obstruct concentration and impede access to information. Let alone that it may result in the development of narcolepsy.
How to avoid lack-of-sleep consequences?
Build a good sleeping routine. An adult person requires 7 to 9 hours of sleep to have their body fully restored and energized. The number is averaged, so you may want to find out the number of hours perfect exactly for you. To do so, take a few days (on holidays, for example), to have a long period for sleep and an opportunity to wake up naturally, without an alarm clock. Monitor your behavior, emotional state, and general condition during the day. Write down when you feel tired and when your energy supply is the highest. Paying attention to all these criteria will help you define the optimal amount of sleep to stay at your best during the day.
Optimize your sleeping habits. This can be done in several ways. For example, blackout curtains at night and bright light in the morning can help to adjust natural biorhythms. The students, who regularly disregard normal sleeping, often suffer from insomnia at night and can’t wake up early in the morning. Mimicking the natural night-and-day cycles proved really helpful for normalizing sleeping patterns in people with sleeping disorders.
Falling asleep at night often becomes a real challenge for students because of the constant stress they experience in college. Taking a warm bath, trying meditation, or having a walk in the greenery may be a good idea before going to bed. It can help to relax and have a good and sound sleep during the whole night.
Regular exercising is no less important for healthy sleep. It is well-known that physical activity helps to normalize blood pressure, reduces the level of stress, stretches our muscles, and warms up our joints. Moreover, training helps to keep our emotions in balance, as well as have small victories every day. With an elevated mood and no tension or pain in the body, it is far easier to fall asleep. However, it is better to abstain from heavy work-outs right before bed. Their stimulating nature may have the opposite effect and break your sleeping cycle, instead.
How students can fit a healthy sleep in their busy college schedule?
According to homework help websites for college students lifestyle expert Lana Wayward, “diligent planning results in wholesome sleeping”. To be successful in academic performance and stay fresh during the day, she recommends the following:
- Start with sparing good eight hours for the night sleep. Force-majeures are possible but they shouldn’t become a rule. Every time thinking that you can learn more by sleeping less, think again, and choose in favor of sleep.
- Make planning your day-to-day habit. If you add exams, to-do tasks, and deadline dates to your schedule in advance, you won’t have to urgently grind and cram the material. Organize your work-and-leisure routine on a daily-weekly-monthly basis, use calendars, and make up bulleted lists to prioritize your activities. Regular planning enhances productivity and helps to stay on track with your sleeping plans.
- Practice power naps. According to Dominique Petit, the coordinator of the Canadian Sleep and Circadian Network, at-noon naps in children have proven to be of critical importance for learning. It might be the reason why children are so good and fast at memorizing and acquiring new skills. Adults, however, can use this knowledge to their advantage as well. 15-20-minute of daytime naps can help restore energy level and facilitate further learning.
No doubt that long and sound sleep in students is not a sign of a lazybones but a wise choice. It’s critical for restoring brain connections, physical and mental power. Give yourself time for proper rest during the night, and you will be surprised how much your brain can really learn and remember.
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