It’s getting to the end of the school year and stress levels are high. You are struggling to go to classes, you’ve forgotten you need chapel credits, you have too much homework to do and not enough time. It’s getting to the point where many people pull all nighter or stay up to finish homework in preparation for their final exams. But is losing sleep to do homework actually worth it?
Dr. Philip Alapat, medical director of the Harris Health Sleep Disorders Center and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, says that college students should get at least eight hours of sleep every night.
This suggestion makes me want to snort. I am lucky to get at least six hours of sleep; getting eight hours of sleep would be a miracle. Like many students, I do homework during the day but I also have to stay up to finish it.
After being on the phone with my mother one day, she told me I needed to sleep more because it was affecting my homework. I brushed it aside but told her I would look it up. When I looked up college students and sleeping, I found out that everything my mother told me was right. Shocker, right?
Studies show that memory recall and ability to hold concentration are improved by rest. The Harris Health Sleep Disorders Center says that any prolonged sleep deprivation will affect your mood, energy level, ability to focus and will overall affect your academic performance.
Knowing this is the first step to change. Yes, you can stay up every so often, but not sleeping for a long period of time is just harmful. After reading about this, I found some recommendations to help college students not stay up so late.
Study during times where your brain is at its optimal function, which usually are between 6-8 p.m.
Do not study early in the morning if you aren’t very alert and don’t overuse caffeinated drinks.
Although those are not very surprising recommendations, I came across small changes that would help with sleep deprivation. Some include things as easy as using the same eating patterns, sleeping without lights so you will fall into a deeper sleep and not drinking caffeine four hours before you go to bed.
It’s the end of the semester and many students are stressed and sleep deprived. However, we all need to recognize that losing sleep to do homework is more harmful than it is helpful.
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