How to Ditch The Stubborn Red Bull Blues: Advice for Zombie Anteaters

The only thing between our summer break and us is the minefield of exams and final papers. Good thing there’s a secret weapon you can use: proper sleep hygiene. If we manage to actually get the sleep we need, we will give ourselves an edge over our sleep- deprived peers.

Let’s just go through a classic example with our friend, Fred. Fred has had enough time to complete his coursework but unfortunately he wasted precious time procrastinating.

He finally decides it’s time to get serious. This is when Fred gets friendly with his coffee maker and prepares to bust out the notorious all-nighter. After all, his final papers is due at 4 p.m. tomorrow and let’s not forget about his 11 a.m. exam. A general rule of thumb is that one all-nighter requires three days of recovery.

Fred’s situation is not unusual. We are all prone to last minute study marathons that put unreasonable stress on our minds and bodies, negating our performance on papers or exams.

Sleep is one of the easiest things we can do for our well-being—it is free and it feels good. Yet the research tells us that many college students and adults do not get enough sleep. Lack of sleep hinders memory and creativity. You will miss out on hormones that boost immunity. Sleep deprivation can also alter your mood, causing you to be more irritable or prone to depression. On top of all that, people who sleep less increase their risk for obesity and diabetes.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) encourages proper sleep hygiene. The CDC recommends seven to eight hours of sleep every night as well as going to bed and waking up at consistent times. Check your sleep space too. Minimize noises such as the low hum of your computer and get yourself situated in a dark, relaxing environment.

If you think you have a sleep disorder, do not hesitate to talk to your doctor. Beware of the dependency of sleep medications.

Given this brief introduction to the importance of sleep, I encourage you to do a web search of your own.
More importantly, I encourage you to sleep well. Your body and your grades deserve it. And if you know anyone like Fred, set him straight.