Parness: Lack of sleep could mean nightmares on midterms and tests

You lay your head down after four straight hours of staring at a history book in preparation for your midterm tomorrow. The clock reads 3:45 a.m. Your test is in just over four hours. Night, night, sleep tight. Don’t let the bed bu…oops, time to wake up and get to class.

Around midterm season, there are basically three S’s college students try to balance: study, sleep and a social life. As far as priorities go, sleep is typically the choice placed on the back burner.

However, it turns out pounding caffeine and cramming definitions into your head until the sun comes up doesn’t do as much good as most think.

In fact, sleep deprivation hurts your chance at remembering everything you have been studying during those late nights in the library. Sleep is the most important part of turning those thoughts and learning into memory because that is what your brain does when you are asleep.

Losing sleep is a gateway to an inability to learn and will eventually lead to poor performance in classes.

According to, a sleep-deprived person has difficulty focusing their attention and therefore cannot learn effectively in class — not remembering what they do learn. If you don’t allow your brain the time to convert what you’ve learned into memory, you won’t retain everything you normally would.

So, a lot of what you try to force into your head late at night will just fall right out by the time you bubble-in your name on your Scantron sheet.@@

Health is also put at risk when you subject yourself to sleep deprivation. Basically, less sleep leads to stress. More stress leads to less sleep. It’s a difficult cycle to pull yourself out of once you go down that road, especially with classes pushing you to stay busy.

This is not new information to any students; it’s just usually ignored.

“I know that I should sleep more, but I don’t have enough time during midterms, and I end up cramming until 4 a.m.,” University junior Tyson Heesacker said.@@*[email protected]@

The root of the problem is procrastination. Students may be awake until 3 a.m. studying for an economics midterm only because they didn’t start studying until 9 p.m. the night before the test.

Yes, at this time of the term, several classes give assignments and tests all at once. But that is why they all give a syllabus at the beginning of the term. If you plan it out effectively, you can still get everything done with time to sleep.@@just like all the other [email protected]@

Now that is not to say a student can get the recommended eight hours of sleep per night in the heart of the term — let’s get real. But six hours the night before a test is still doable.

Everyone feels the pressure to do well on tests and get assignments done; it’s a part of being a college student who wants to get good grades. Unfortunately, a lot of students think sacrificing sleep to make up for procrastination is a solution.

The fact of the matter is you aren’t doing yourself nearly as much good as you thought. All you have to do is leave your friend’s house or navigate away from Facebook and start studying a little earlier.

Falling asleep is the first step towards making that dream of getting an A on your midterm a reality. Plus, counting sheep may still count as studying for math anyway.

Sweet dreams, Ducks.


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