Sleep is essential for functioning, yet hard to come by, especially when it's midnight and you have a final at 8 a.m. that, cough cough, you didn't study much for, slash didn't start studying for. Or maybe you have, but pre-finals nerves are keeping you from resting well. Whatever the barrier might be, many college students suffer from sleep deprivation.
A good night's rest does much more besides allowing you to stay awake throughout the day. A good night's sleep has been proven to greatly improve memory and concentration as well as general mood and health. Grades, health, and physical appearance are all areas that are heavily impacted by the amount of sleep obtained. For the average college student, this means 8-10 hours of sleep a night, according to the American Sleep Association.
Getting a few more hours' shut-eye is far more beneficial to your grade than a few more hours of cramming, as research has proven time and time again. So what can you do to maximize the time you spend asleep? The importance of studying in advance cannot be overstated: procrastination often leads to desperate cramming of a semester's worth of academic content, most of which will end up being forgotten. The night before the exam is much better spent asleep than awake. That means starting to studying at least a few days before the day of the exam, but ideally spreading out studying over a week prior to the test. And if worst comes to worst, just try not to pull an all-nighter. Those are the worst for your health, and will completely throw you off.
As tough as it may be, try keeping away from Facebook, Instagram, or Snapchat. Entire hours can drain away once you open up those enticing apps. There goes 2 hours worth of studying or exercising, or most importantly, hours that may enhance a great night's sleep. To abstain from the allure of social media, try turning off notifications from those apps temporarily and keeping your phone out of sight while you study.
One way to help ensure sleep time is to plan out the time that you'll dedicate to spending asleep. Being specific is a good way to plan your schedule around this time. By setting aside time for sleep before starting to study, you may be more likely to stick to the plan rather than just study until you feel tired. If you feel tired and sleepy, listen to your body and get some rest. Straining yourself even when your body is sending you alarm signals is detrimental to your health. Because one's mental state and physical state are interconnected, letting yourself sleep when you feel tired can greatly improve your performance come exam day.
Last but not least, keep in mind that finals are NOT life-or-death. Regardless of how they go, life goes on and your grades are not an indicator of how well you are doing at life. So don't let those worries and fears keep you from sleep. Rest assured, finals are not the final say.