The Secret Key to Success On Exams: Sleep

The Secret Key to Success On Exams: Sleep




With midterms going on this week, or for other schools, starting this upcoming week, millions of college students are getting ready to take their midterm exams. But that’s not the only thing students have to worry about…we’ve got a whole list: classes, practice, meetings, clubs, homework, etc. Of course, today’s generation of college students have a busier schedule than ever, but the one thing they forget is: SLEEP! And this might be the one thing stopping us from excelling in our endeavors. Research all over the world suggest that students do not get enough sleep which can have a negative impact on their grades. Most college kids are used to running off a couple hours of sleep; this is normal to them. But, what they are unaware of is all the negative consequences.


So, listen up…



It’s often unavoidable to start sleeping late when you’re in college, but it’s important to keep an eye on how many hours of sleep you’re really losing. When our bodies don’t receive the recommended hours of sleep per night, it is easy for sleep deprivation to kick in. You’ll notice this as you start studying for an exam. Most students will use study techniques that have worked for them in the past. But they’ll soon learn that when they try to learn and understand the material needed for the exam, it’s hard for most students to even remember the smallest pieces of information.


One student says, “I’ll admit, my sleep schedule is horrible and I am definitely sleep deprived. When I study, I find myself rereading notes and PowerPoints over and over again, and still I’ll have trouble remembering anything I just read. It kind of sucks because I have a lot more trouble studying than I used to”. Without a decent memory, a student has less control of their grades allowing their GPS to decline rapidly. Proper amount of sleep every night allows a student’s mind to store information at a deeper level. This will help students to be more awake during exams, more alert while completing their assignments, and get better grades overall.


Here are a few tips:


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1) Take a proper nap!

o   Daytime naps might really help you out if you’re unable to get a good night’s sleep at night. Dr. Aneesa Das, MD, Assistant Director of The Ohio State Sleep Disorders Center. “If you need to take a nap, do it before 4 p.m. and it should be no more than 20 to 30 minutes to avoid that groggy feeling that occurs when you’re awakened suddenly during your sleep cycle.” So, stop taking those hour-long naps you used to take, instead take an effective 20 to 30 minute nap!

2) Shut off all electronics before bed!

o   You might read this at first and think “this is not happening”, but this might actually help you out in the long. Research shows that students should shut off all electronics at least an hour before heading to bed. So at least give this a try, maybe you won’t find this too hard and get even a better sleep than you’re used to!

3)  Set a regular sleep schedule and stick to it!

o   “To function optimally, your body clock needs regularity,” says a professor at the UC College of Medicine. Rather than sleeping when you feel tired or getting into a routine of sleeping late, set up a sleep schedule that fits your schedule. This will allow you to get a proper amount of sleep every night, but also allow you to schedule your day accordingly!


Joshua St. Fort