To sleep or to study?

Students are too tired; I know you all have felt the effects of sleep deprivation at some time throughout this school year. Well, my friend, you are not alone. We’ve all suffered the complete and utter exhaustion and inability to focus caused by sleep deprivation.

According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep deprivation is a major problem that can cause short-term effects such as: loss in ability to concentrate, acne, forgetfulness, aggressiveness, and weight gain among many others. This is a massive problem being that students’ ability to complete simple tasks is being stunted by their lack of sleep, but this poses an even bigger issue.

Students, in many situations favor studying for the next day’s tests rather than going to bed at an appropriate hour. How many times has a friend or classmate told you he/she was awake studying until 2 a.m.? My guess is too many.

Aly Claycomb, junior, tries to catch up on sleep in class. Sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety or depression.
Riley Kowalski
Aly Claycomb, junior, tries to catch up on sleep in class. Sleep deprivation can lead to anxiety or depression.

According to the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, sleep deprivation can cause long-term effects such as strokes, heart attacks, depression, anxiety, and obesity, which means that your lack of sleep can cause serious damage if you continue to do it for prolonged periods of time. So, when you ponder whether you should go to bed or study for that AP Euro test, you’re really asking yourself if a test grade is worth a break-out or complications for your health down the road.

So what can you do instead of making yourself miserable for a day (or more)? Here are five tips to help you survive high school while maintaining your rest and mental health:

  1. Don’t wait to study! Start at least three nights before the actual test so that you’re not cramming all night beforehand.
  2. Manage your time wisely. Make sure to get your homework done as soon as you have a chance rather than starting at 9 p.m.
  3. Pick a bedtime and stick to it! Start with 11:30 p.m. and work your way backwards so you eventually get all the sleep your body needs.
  4. Have a schedule so your body knows it’s time to go to sleep. Having a set order of nighttime activities keeps you from feeling restless and awake at night.
  5. Don’t check your phone or computer screen right before you want to fall asleep. Research has shown that bright lights can delay the release of melatonin, the hormone that cues your body it’s time to rest.