Lack of sleep could be hurting your performance in class.
Our bodies have a biological pattern of alternating sleep and wakefulness — roughly 8 hours of nocturnal sleep and 16 hours of daytime activity. This is known as our sleep-wake cycle. Teenagers and young adults naturally require longer periods of sleep, between 8-10 hours, to perform their best in class.
However, like most students, you’re likely getting just 5-6 hours of sleep. Unfortunately, grabbing some extra naptime on the weekends, although it helps, isn’t enough.
Not getting enough sleep can:
- Limit your ability to learn, listen, concentrate and problem solve
- Impair memory and inhibit creativity
- Make it difficult to deal with stress and control emotion
- Cause irritability, lack of self-confidence and mood swings
- Effect you physically leading to weight gain, acne, illness, and caffeine dependency
- Cause impairment when driving —comparable to someone under the influence of alcohol.
So, if you’re locked into a schedule and exhausted, here are a few ideas to help you fix the problem.
- Make sleep a priority. Get your full recommended 8.5 hours of whenever you can.
- Stay away from caffeine after noon.
- Nap when you can. Limit your nap to about 20 minutes and avoid napping too close to your normal bedtime.
- Keep a consistent sleep schedule. A set routine helps put your body into a rhythm and brings it on more naturally.
- Try to avoid stimulating activities like exercising, watching television, looking at the screen of a phone/tablet, or even homework or studying an hour before you go to bed. Doing this will allow your brain and body to shut down slowly and get prepared for good quality sleep.
- Avoid bright light in the evening, but open blinds or turn on lights as soon as the morning alarm goes off to aid awakening.
- Sleep in on the weekend, but no more than 2 or 3 hours later than your usual awakening time or it will disrupt their body clock.
By practicing these habits, you should be able to get through classes, exams and or finals week a little easier with your brain fully charged and able to recall important needed information on a regular basis. Make sure you do your best to be well rested for your overall health and acquiring all your needed skills for your future.
Share your thoughts… Would you prefer have later classes to suit your natural sleep schedule? How do you manage your schedule and sleep?