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Later Start Times in High Schools Would Help Student Performance

I remember when I first started college, I was shocked that none of my classes started until 10:00am. It was a great change from high school, when my first class began at 7:50am. I was also very excited because this later starting time meant I would get to sleep in later in the mornings. Score!

Evidently I was not the only one who thought that high schools start a little too early. A few years ago, Finley Edwards, a student at Colby College, began a study concerning the starting times of high schools and how well students do in school. He was inspired by his little sister’s early mornings: she woke up at 6:30 each day and class started at 7:15.

“I thought that this couldn’t possibly be good,” he recalls. Sadly, there wasn’t any previous research available for Edwards to read about this subject, so he decided to make his own. Now, he has found that “start times really do matter. We can see clear increases of academic performance from just starting school later.” Read the rest of this entry »



College Students Are Not Sleeping Well Enough To Perform Their Best

When I was in high school, I had a self-imposed bedtime and woke up at the same time every morning in order to go to my classes. As a result, I got eight hours of sleep every night and felt more energized and aware when I woke up in the mornings. My energy levels stayed high throughout the day and when it was time to go to bed at night, I fell asleep easily.

All that changed when I went to college. During my freshman year, I would stay up until 4:00 A.M. one night, wake up at noon, and then go to bed at 10:00 P.M. in order to wake up for my 8:00 A.M. class the next day. My sleep schedule was completely wacky, and as a result, my overall health suffered.

It turns out I was not alone. Many freshmen struggle with getting enough sleep as they transition into college. Also, when freshmen do sleep, they tend to think that they are getting a better quality of rest than they really are.

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Late Classes Mean More Parties and Bad Grades

You may get more sleep when your classes don’t start until noon, however, a recent study shows that you’re more likely to drink a lot and receive poor grades as well.

Two St. Lawrence University professors surveyed 253 students and found that “night owls” party more and study less than their “early bird” counterparts.

“Later class start times predicted more drinking, more sleep time and modestly lower grades, overall,” said  Pamela Thacher, co-lead author of the study.

Thacher, who’s also an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at St. Lawrence noted: “Later class start times seemed to change the choices students make: They sleep longer, and they drink more,” she said.

The one noticeable benefit to late classes is more sleep, but students aren’t getting quality sleep. Research shows that booze interferes with our deep sleep, so heavy drinkers feel tired most of the time, which could explain those not-so-hot grades.

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Schools Encourage Students to Nap for Success

I don’t know about you, but every day around 2:00 p.m., I hit a brick wall. Figuratively, not literally, of course. At this time, every single day, I start getting sleepy. My eyes droop, I have to constantly stifle yawns, and I cannot focus on anything more mentally stimulating than a game of Angry Birds on my phone.

Evidently, I am not alone. For the past four years, the University of California in Davis has been promoting the benefits of enough sleep to its students. The school has actually been promoting napping as a way to boost academic performance, while also boosting focus and productivity.

According to much research, humans need approximately 7-9 hours of sleep; if you do not get this amount of sleep at night, you can supplement it with power naps that last 20-30 minutes. Also, many humans have natural energy slumps between 10-11 a.m. and 2-4 p.m., (which explains why I need a nap at this time on most days).

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Four Ways to Avoid Test Anxiety

It won’t be long until finals week, and if your grades are borderline, you’re probably ready to pull out you hair. “Frankie Goes to Hollywood” sang it best with the song “Relax.” Stress can cloud your thinking and bring on test anxiety.

Read these tips on how to relax, reduce stress and maximize the quality of your study time:

Cramming is a no-no: We’ve all done it. It’s no surprise that a busy college schedule caused you to cram several chapters of information into your brain within hours before the test. But if you want to avoid stress, don’t wait until the last minute. Study about an hour a night for three nights. If you know it’s going to be a comprehensive final, try studying an hour and a half each night. If you cram for a test, you will likely feel like you don’t truly know the material, which can bring on test anxiety, but if you study several nights in a row you will feel confident about your final.

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Teens are Texting All Night Long

texting in classThe very technology that was developed to bring us closer together is posing some serious side effects. For years now, inquiring minds throughout the world have asked whether social media is creating socially-stunted youth. Has the internet and text messaging bred a generation of people who would prefer to avoid one-on-one social situations and conversations? Has the age of convenience caused our obesity rates to skyrocket? Are young adults losing their sense of self, panicking when they don’t have constant contact with their friends? Now we’re forced to ask another question: Is technology snatching precious hours of sleep from our kids?

Why, yes it is, says researchers from the JFK Medical Center. It turns out that teens, on average, are texting 34 times each night. This texting-activity takes place in the middle of the night, after the teens have gone to sleep. Teenagers, sleeping with their cell phones under their pillow or on their nightstands, are neglecting to consider that this late-night texting is interrupting their sleep cycles. I wonder how many of them know that insufficient amounts and poor quality of sleep can cause: Read the rest of this entry »



Stay Healthy During Cold and Flu Season on Campus

sneezeCold and flu season is here. Amidst balancing school, work and a much needed social life, cold and flu viruses run rampant on college campuses. No one wants to sit next to the sick girl (or guy) in chemistry, let alone, play drinking games with her.

Here are some ways to fight off illness and shorten its lifespan when you do get sick.

  1. If you don’t already have it, consider the cost of getting health insurance. In the event of a major illness, you’ll be glad you have it! Read the rest of this entry »


Makeover Your Dorm to Get a Better Night’s Sleep

dorm-sleepDid you know that the way your room is arranged can affect how well you sleep? Dr. Michael J. Breus, sleep expert and author of the book Beauty Sleep, has some advice on how to give your dorm room a makeover to get a better night’s sleep.

Light is the one of the most important factors in getting a good night’s sleep, because light is a major factor in regulating your circadian rhythm. If your windows admit unnatural sources of light, like from street lamps, cover the windows with a light-blocking curtain or shooed when you go to bed. During the evening, try to use no more than 300 watts of light at once, and when you sleep no more than 65 watts. That means you should turn off all those electronics that have constant blinking lights (this does not apply to fire alarms or carbon monoxide sensors). Make sure your bed is facing away from the west, so that morning sunlight won’t wake you up too early.

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How Sleep Learning May Improve Your Grades

sleeping student on booksWe all know that you need to sleep and sleep well in order for clear cognition. And with the summer blockbuster movie, “Inception,” the power of our dreams as a learning and teaching tool is becoming an increasingly popular concept.

Dreams have long been heralded into the secret windows of our psyches and future. Everyone from ancient sages to modern philosophers have recognized the mysterious ability for dreams to provide answers to problems, foretell events and bring clarity to a perplexing situation.

When it comes to learning, students have longed for a way to sleep and learn. In fact, sleep learning is a student’s dream, (with the pun intended).

So exactly what is sleep learning? Read the rest of this entry »



Everything You Need to Pull an All-Nighter

coffeeAs another school year gets underway, there are some constants you can’t forget. Between homework and library research, term papers and study sessions, it’s inevitable that there will be days you don’t have enough time to finish everything in your regular waking hours. Whether it’s a habit of procrastination, a big test or a heavy class load, college students are going to need to pull an all-nighter sooner or later. Some dread them, and some find they work better under the pressure of a looming deadline and lack of sleep, but either way, you better get used to them.

It’s definitely better to study on a regular basis so you aren’t forced to pull an all-night study session to get things done, but when you find yourself unable to avoid it, there are some things that will make your evening easier, and maybe even a little more enjoyable:

  • Caffeine: Whether it’s in the form of coffee, chocolate, tablets or a fancy latte, caffeine is a must for pulling an all-nighter. It will help you stay awake so that you are alert enough to absorb the material you’re cramming into your brain at four in the morning. Read the rest of this entry »




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