Five Tips for Sleep-Deprived Students

girl in bedConsider being a full-time college student as a prep course for parenthood. The sleep deprivation you experience as a student is the same fogginess, constant fatigue and in-need-of-caffeine feelings you will experience as new parents (for those of you who choose to become parents).

But since parenthood may be a distant dream for you, and your grades are currently your main priority, consider this: Sleep loss severely impacts your ability to focus, retain knowledge and produce accurate, error-free work. Need further proof? Studies undertaken on sleep-deprived medical interns have shown that they commit a significant amount of serious medical errors, largely the result of attentional failures from sleepiness.

So grab your pillow and learn the five things you can do to improve your sleep and grades.

1) Turn off before you turn in: If you have woken up with your forehead planted in your laptop keyboard, then this tip is definitely applicable to you. At least 30 to 60 minutes before you go to bed, turn off your electronics – laptop, cell phone, iPod, television, etc. By unplugging your myriad of digital distractions your mind becomes less stimulated and in a calmer and less frenzied place to welcome a full night’s rest.

2) Stay unplugged: Resist the temptation to place your cell phone and iPod next to your bed. You are truly an important person to many people in this world, but if someone needs to get ahold of you, it can wait until the morning.

3) Keep your room dark and cool: Turn off the lights and turn down the heat before you turn in. You’ll sleep more soundly in a cooler room and the darkness signals to your body that it is time for rest, which allows your circadian rhythms to cycle with balance.

4) Cut yourself off: Even though they may just as well pour coffee from dormitory drinking fountains, too much caffeine can seriously disrupt your ability to get in a solid night’s sleep. In moderation and at the right moments of the day (think between morning and 4 p.m.), caffeine can do wonders to help keep your mind active and focused. But switch to decaffeinated drinks like herbal teas in the late afternoon and from then on until you hit the sack.

5) Eat and move right: Try and follow the 80/20 rule for your diet: Make 80 percent of your choices healthy and allow for 20 percent of not-so-healthy eats. Eating a diet full of fresh fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean proteins prevents your body from crashing due to unregulated insulin levels. Energy crashes will lead you to ingest more of the quick-fix eats like caffeine and sugars, which will boost energy quickly and then leave you lying in the dirt once their effects have worn off. In addition, make exercise a priority every day! Just 30 minutes of brisk walking, jogging or biking have been shown to improve sleeping patterns.

Do yourself a favor and ditch this erroneous idea that the less sleep you need, the tougher you are. There is very little evidence to support such unhealthy claims. And with these five small steps, you can maintain your As while still getting your Zs.








7 Responses to “Five Tips for Sleep-Deprived Students”

  1. Adrian says:

    …have a bath before tucking yourself into bed. A dirty body makes one uncomfortable in the sleep which can make him/her wake up instantly. send off your visitors in time such that your sleeping time may not be reduced to two hours. Otherwise thanks for the blog and it’s my wish to link up again.


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