The following article is a guest post by Sarah over at Sleep Advisor.
It could be a win-win. Cracking open the books for a good long study session might make you want to sleep. But the good news is that catching up on zzzs can actually lead to better grades!
Obviously sleeping through lectures isn’t the fast track to success. Nor is ditching class altogether and relying on methods to study while you sleep.
No, unfortunately one doesn’t replace the other. You still need to study. Sorry.
But getting enough, good-quality sleep does make you more motivated, more productive and more creative when faced with challenges like a big assignment or exam. And it gives you the energy to study for these things instead of simply hitting the snooze button and hoping it’ll all be over when you wake up.
Here’s how sleep can help you get better grades:
1. You can learn while you sleep
Unfortunately, you can’t learn something you don’t know already. But you can improve in certain areas, like linguistic or musical skills, during sleepy time. And even more exciting is sleep’s role in memory retention. Slow-wave sleep (SWS) is a phase we spend a lot of time in at night and this is when some of our short-term memories are moved into long-term storage. And our brain makes more new connections between neurons during this time, before consolidating it for our waking minds to suddenly recall.
So you may not be able to rattle off all the United States in alphabetical order right now but learn a little before bed every night and you never know… Or maybe you just want to learn song lyrics. It might not help your grades but hey, it could help you to impress at that next Open Mic night!
2. Sleep nurtures your inner “artiste”
You might be a logical type who’s great at maths and whose creativity stretches to using a blue pen instead of a black one sometimes. But fear not – we all have a streak of creativity in us somewhere, we just need the right method to coax it out. Like in this article where the Sleep Advisor’s discuss how geniuses sleep.
Sleep does just that. Why? Well, because when we’re well rested, we ensure that our cognitive function – ahem – functions correctly. We can come up with better ideas, we don’t lose our attention to detail and we can make smart decisions. In short, we’ll know what’ll work and what won’t. So while your sleepy mind might tell you that handing in your final exam with a big “Fail me. I dare you” scrawled on your title page is a solid idea, your rested mind will convince you otherwise. Thankfully.
3. You can become one of those productive people
You know the type. They’re on the social committee, they star in all the plays, they co-host the college radio station and they get brilliant grades. Where do they find the time?!
The thing about productivity is, it feeds productivity. Think of the last time you cleaned your room (if you can). You probably felt a big energy buzz afterwards, like you were capable of – gasp – even knocking out a few hours of hardcore study.
And these people are no different. They’re not superhuman, or on some weird study steroid (at least, they’re probably not). No, they just know how to make the most out of their day; to be productive and active instead of lethargic and passive. And the more they take on, the more capable they become. (Until of course, sometimes they take it too far and burn out. We don’t want that to happen.)
But still, being productive in some aspects of life – whether it’s tidying your room, or calling your mom, or going grocery shopping – makes you more inclined to be productive when it’s time to study.
And you know what fosters productivity? Sleep.
It might sound counterintuitive but going to sleep actually helps you to stay more alert (at least, in your waking hours). Get enough of it and you might even find yourself turning into a morning person; hitting the gym, whipping up a smoothie and getting an hour’s study in all before 9am. Imagine.
4. Sleep keeps you healthy
All that partying is bound to take its toll sometime. And those late-night cramming sessions don’t help, either. In fact, sleep deprivation has all kinds of repercussions for our physical and mental health; one of them being a weakened immune system.
So if you’re falling victim to every bug and flu going around, chances are you’re missing a lot of lectures. And it’s easy to fall behind this way. Hellooo, bad grades!
Obviously, maintaining your social life is a big part of the college experience. But try to get at least 4 nights of proper sleep a week, and you’ll notice a big difference.
By staying rested and keeping healthy, you’ll be in top form throughout term time…and hey, you can celebrate even more during your break!
Now that you know how sleep can help your grades, what’re you waiting for? Turn off that laptop, switch your phone to silent so you can’t be tempted by invitations and get a decent night’s sleep.
You’ll thank me when your transcript comes out. 😉
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