May 16, 2022

How to be a better student: sleep

“Seventy five percent of college students on every campus in Utah have pathological sleep patterns,” says Neuropsychologist and CEU instructor Heath Earl, “Not just abnormal, not just troublesome sleep patterns, but pathological.”
Earl said that sleep was a huge factor in a student’s learning curve. “The research has shown that if you deprive yourself of sleep even on one night, so just one night you deprive yourself of sleep, then you have cognitive decline in that day, so it’s like cutting off IQ points for a day.

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This archived article was written by: Jaimie Scoville

“Seventy five percent of college students on every campus in Utah have pathological sleep patterns,” says Neuropsychologist and CEU instructor Heath Earl, “Not just abnormal, not just troublesome sleep patterns, but pathological.”
Earl said that sleep was a huge factor in a student’s learning curve. “The research has shown that if you deprive yourself of sleep even on one night, so just one night you deprive yourself of sleep, then you have cognitive decline in that day, so it’s like cutting off IQ points for a day.
“College students have a major problem with this. We studied this at another college and presented this finding at two conferences. In that particular study, we found that 75 percent of the people we studied,on campuses here in Utah had pathological sleep patterns. Not just abnormal, not just troublesome sleep patterns, but pathological.
“College students, because they are young and have so much energy, violate their sleep patterns all the time and survive pretty well because they’re young and they’re energetic, but that doesn’t mean that it doesn’t take a toll on them,” he said.
“The recommendations from sleep experts say that you’re supposed to sleep eight hours plus or minus just a little bit,” Earl adds on, and that should be regular, meaning every day and that it should be at a standard time. The rule for waking up and sleeping, especially waking up is wake up only one hour plus or minus your typical time. If you normally wake up during the weekdays, say at 7 a.m., on the weekend, you shouldn’t sleep in later than 8 a.m. Sleeping in horribly violates what’s called your sleep architecture and doesn’t improve your mood, even though it feels good while you’re doing it.
“So the recommendation is that even if you stayed up till 1 a.m., goofing off, you still should get up at 7 a.m.. Will you be tired? Yeah, but getting up resets your brain. In fact, waking up, opening your eyes, and being exposed to light, especially sunlight resets your brain,” he continued.
“‘What can I do to help myself learn more effectively,’ you ask? Some people like to study in the morning; some people like to study in the afternoon or in the evening. As we’ve talked about in this class, it’s very, very important to either study or review your information right before you go to bed,” this class referring to his PSY 1010 class, intro to psychology. “The best time to learn and retain information is right before you sleep,” he coninued.
“What else should I do to make myself a better student,” you ask? “Exercise should be a part of your daily schedule, I was going to say if you can fit it in, but really, it just should be.” Earl says, “Exercise is paradoxical and what I mean by that is that when you exercise, you expand energy, which you would think would make you tired, and it does, at the moment, but it also invigorates you.”
Exercise does all kinds of other things. It helps sleep, by the way. Exercise is great thing to help improve your sleep. It helps with your mood and emotions, Earl explains.
College students need a variety of activities. College students, in my opinion, become somewhat polarized. You’ve got some that are way over-studiers and then they’re missing the boat. You should study hard enough but you should also have time to relax and enjoy and things. If you’re not doing that, then your life is out of balance and your studies actually become hurt when you’re out of balance. The other students who don’t study at all and are here just for the good times, they’re kind of messing up. Activity level needs to be moderated, but I think a full, active, rounded out life makes a better student.
All in all, you should study and then spend some time socializing, and of course, exercise. You should do what you like to do while going through college, just make it a priority to sensibly work it into your already crazy schedule.

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