Massachusetts Daily Collegian

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As the new semester begins, students from across the country are beginning to shift their sleep schedules. For many students, what was once a 12-hour rest now turns into only four hours of bliss before the rude awakening of an alarm clock jolts them upright and into a groggy state in order to begin the day’s work.

Four to six hours of sleep a night is commonplace, and is simply another part of the college routine for many young adults. Anyone with a love of exhaustion can go to the library at 2:00 or 3:00 a.m. and observe the students in a zombie-like state, wobbling back to their dorms in hopes of catching some rest, only to wake up a few hours later to head to lectures. This, however, does not need to be the case, and only getting a few hours of sleep is not only a bad idea for your health, but is also terrible for your grades.

When I first came to college, I was told by countless upperclassmen to prepare myself for long nights and little sleep. Their premonitions were correct, and in my first semester of college I averaged only four or five hours of sleep a night. I am not bragging, nor am I recommending this. It was a bad idea, and my grades suffered as a result. In fact, I was so beat after a few months of school that during my first week home for winter break I slept for 16 hours each night. The only upside to this was that I learned from my mistakes, and the next semester I ensured that I was getting a minimum of eight hours of sleep a night. As a result, my morale and grades improved.

I know some students will argue that sleepless nights are essential when they need to study for an exam the next day or they have to finish their homework for class tomorrow, but staying up all night to do this is not the way to go. A study by the American Academy of Sleep Medicine has shown that a lack of sleep will negatively impact your grades, so those three or four hours a night will certainly not help you, and in fact will end up hurting you in the long run.

When it comes time to study I recommend breaking up the work into chunks and doing your homework or studying for an exam over several days rather than trying to do it all at once. Although it may be enticing to stay up until 3:00 a.m. to cram for tomorrow’s exams, you are only shooting yourself in the foot and will not be able to retain that information down the road.

A lot of students tend to treat lack of sleep as a competition, bragging about how little sleep they got the night before only to have their impressively low number outdone by yet another student. This is nothing to brag about, and is Please take this as a warning and forgo the attempts at infamy for your lack of sleep, and instead be smart about your choices and make sure you get eight hours of sleep a night. But if you’re still wary of my advice, try to sleep on it.

Jeffrey Ayers is a Collegian columnist and can be reached at [email protected]

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