Studies show that sleep deprivation leads to a decrease in academic performance for students of all ages. According to a survey done by the Better Sleep Council, nearly 8 in 10 Americans admit they would feel better and more prepared for the day if they had an extra hour of sleep. As college students, we sometimes cram and even pull “all-nighters” to study for exams. Making time for sleep is just as important as studying.

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Get those Z’s so you can get those A’s : Memory recall and the ability to maintain concentration are much improved when an individual is rested – two things that seem pretty important when it comes to taking your exams, am I right? In order for our bodies to become fully rested, we should strive to get at least 7-9 hours of sleep per night.

“But I don’t have time for sleep!” If this sounds like you, you may really want to reevaluate your schedule. Any prolonged sleep deprivation will affect your mood, energy level, ability to focus, concentration and ability to learn, which directly affect your academic performance. The solution: create a study schedule! Studying a little bit each night is better than pulling an all-nighter.

Make your sleep work for you!

• Get 7-9 hours of sleep nightly (especially before final exams)
• Try to study during periods of optimal brain function – whether you’re a morning person or a night owl doesn’t matter, everybody’s different!
• Don’t overuse caffeinated drinks. If you do drink something caffeinated, make sure it’s not right before you go to sleep.
• Nap – Contrary to popular belief, napping won’t always negatively affect your nighttime sleep. When it comes to naps, a 20-30 minute nap is best. Anything longer can lead to post-sleep grogginess.
• Recognize that chronic sleep deprivation may contribute to development of long-term diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease

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So what are you waiting for? Start sleeping! And I mean really sleeping – get your 8 hours of sleep every night. Sleep is an amazing thing and once you start actually getting enough of it you’ll see that more than just your grades have improved 

Written by Stephen Clark, Peer Educator

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