Using your text book as a pillow rather than a reference can help your chances of getting a better grade. Then why do students believe that pulling an ‘all-nighter’ before an exam will increase their chances of getting an ‘A’? It seems that in our society, sleep has come second to our daily routine, disregarding its importance for productivity. Many people are bogged down with errands, career issues and studying that sleep becomes overlooked. However, most of what we accomplish can be streamlined into more efficient productivity by one minor adjustment; a full-nights rest.
According to the Journal of Nature Neuroscience, researchers have studied human memory by taking a PET scan of a group of people during REM-sleep, the type of sleep that occurs when you dream. The scans indicate that these people were activating the same regions of the brain that were activated when they were awake and learning a new task. This study suggests that getting a good-nights rest is more conducive to learning than attempting to ‘cram’ and memorize the night before. Therefore, forget about pulling an all-nighter for an exam.
Many people fall victim to sleep deprivation. Children are among millions of sleep-deprived American youngsters. According to the Journal of Experimental Psychology, (March 1975) we know that sleep deprivation impedes the learning process. The necessary amount of sleep for children in elementary school is not the standard 8 hours many people may think. Nine to ten hours per night is the ideal amount for them to be more productive during their school day. Like adults, they suffer when they don’t get enough sleep. They can’t concentrate on their schoolwork, they have trouble remembering things, they may become irritable and fidgety, and they may be vulnerable to colds and flu.
Until recently, the effects of partial sleep deprivation have been underestimated. Recent research has verified that chronic poor sleep results in daytime tiredness, difficulties with focused attention, low threshold to express negative emotion (irritability and easy frustration), and difficulty modulating impulses and emotions. These are the same symptoms that can earn kids the diagnosis of attention deficit disorder (ADD) or attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Studies are now showing that children are being mislabeled with ADD or ADHD when the real problem is chronic partial sleep deprivation.
Sleep deprivation not only affects children but adults too. Adults feel they can do more–have more time for work and family–by allowing themselves less time for sleep. But they do sleep; they sleep at work, or driving to work.
Also, like drunk driving, drowsy driving can kill. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates that more than 200,000 crashes each year involve drivers falling asleep at the wheel, and that thousands of Americans die in such accidents annually. Lack of sleep can cause memory and mood problems too, and may affect immune function, which could lead to an increased incidence of infection and other illnesses. (FDA Consumer magazine, July-August 1998)
Therefore, in order to prevent sleep deprivation it is important to incorporate good sleep habits.
1) Such as being consistent. Establish a regular bedtime and waketime schedule, and maintain it during weekends and school or work vacations.
2) Also after lunch stay away from coffee, colas with caffeine and nicotine which are all stimulants and can prevent a restful sleep.
3) And relax before going to bed. Avoid heavy reading or studying within one hour of going to bed. And if you work during the week, try to avoid working night hours.
Basically try to get enough sleep and get it when you need it.
But just how much nightly R and R does a person need? Well, that can change throughout one’s life based on age and other factors affecting the internal clock.
This chart helps explain how much sleep children need.
School-age kids need approximately10 to 12 hours of sleep to restore energy needed for growth.
This chart explains how much sleep a person acquires from birth to adolescence into adulthood.
For most adults, though, seven and a half to eight and a half hours of sleep each night fulfills the basic physical need.
And for college students try to get 8 hours of sleep. Say no to all nighters. Staying up late can cause chaos to your sleep patterns and your ability to be alert the next day…and beyond. Remember, the best thing you can do to prepare for a test is to get plenty of sleep. All nighters or late-night study sessions might seem to give you more time to cram for your exam, but they are also likely to drain your brain power.