Enough Sleep

Getting a Good Night’s Sleep is Important

An old Irish Proverb tells us

A good laugh and a long sleep are the best cures in the doctor’s book.

Lack of Sleep was my biggest problem Freshman Year.

I have  to confess that for the first several months of my freshman year, I didn’t get enough sleep. I remember friends greeting me, asking “How are you?” I knew they didn’t want me to tell them how I was but I told them anyway. “I’m Tired.  Exhausted.”

Looking back, I know exactly why I was tired. The first reason had to do with boys. I rarely dated in high school. So, in college, I was thrilled each time someone asked me out. I was making up for lost time.

Sometimes I managed five, six or more dates a day.  I could have a “coffee date” in mid-morning though I never drank coffee. I could have a lunch date, and a mid-afternoon coffee date or maybe two. I sometimes explained to one person that I needed to study but could see him from 7-8 before I hit the books. I’d get back to the dorm and prepare for the study-break date from 8:30-9:30. Then, after supposedly “spending hours with my books”, I’d end up with a final date from 10-11. Then, at last, I could start to study.

Finally, between feeling exhausted and knowing I needed to study, I revised my schedule and cut back to occasional weekend dates.

Effects of losing sleepA young man has fallen asleep leaning on a stack of books.

Enrico,the young man in this picture, reminds me of my crazy days. Enrico obviously hasn’t been getting enough sleep.

Psychology professor James Maas at Cornell University says “Losing sleep  affects energy, learning, performance, thinking, productivity, creativity, safety and health.”

A website  called ULifeline took a poll of college students asking how many hours students slept last night. The results are terrifying. The results were:

8-10 hours of sleep –  0%
6-8   hours of sleep – 32.2%
3-5  hours of sleep –  1.9%
1-3  hours of sleep – 57%
Less than 1 hour of sleep 8.8%

These statistics are just too awful to believe. Over 65 % of the students responding to the poll said they got three hours of sleep or less. A computer poll, of course, isn’t very reliable. It could have been exam week. Perhaps the students who responded to the poll exaggerated. Perhaps the students who got enough sleep didn’t participate in the poll.

But I have no doubt that many students are having a hard time learning because they aren’t getting enough sleep.

How can you stay awake when you need to?

What can Enrico and other students do differently to avoid falling asleep over their books?

1. Begin breakfast and lunch with protein. That would keep Enrico alert. I suspect he ate a few doughnuts for breakfast. Starting with carbohydrates makes us sleepy.

2.Take a study breaks. Some people need a break every 20-30 minutes, especially when they are tired or the work is difficult. Others can manage with a break every hour or so.

3. Take a walk outside. Fresh air helps. Exercise helps too.

4. A snack, maybe a piece of fruit, maybe crackers with cheese and a drink of cold water can help.

5. Learn to read more effectively. When we are confused, we feel tired. When we are learning effectively, when we are interested, and more likely to stay alert and awake.

6. Get a good night’s sleep every night.  This will help you feel better, stay awake, and learn more. It will also improve your brain.

If you have trouble getting to sleep : Get to Sleep

For further information on how to get enough sleep and the importance of sleep, I’d suggest you  go to the sleep section on www.helpguide.org

How can sleep improve your memory?

It should be obvious that students who get enough sleep are more alert, will remember more of what they learn, more of the lectures they heard, more of the textbooks they read. But few students know how sleep can actually improve their memory.

Research has shown that when you review material  just before going to sleep, you are likely to remember more than you remembered the night before. As you sleep, your brain is busy making connections related to that last review.

For more information on this read   Scheduled Reviews.

Related Links:    Get to Sleep            Healthy Eating         Drink Water

Regular Exercise        Avoid Addictive Substances

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