The following piece, written by the editorial editors, reflects the majority opinion of the editorial board.
With the arrival of the end of the year comes the beginning of exam week. And with exam week comes the climax of the continued struggle for sleep that college students all over the country face. According to the University of Georgia, most college students get six to seven hours of sleep per night, much less than the recommended eight hours that healthy adults are supposed to have.
As students, we have an increasingly diverse workload and multiple subjects to tackle each week, creating stress, anxiety and time constraints.
Sleep, though, allows us to better handle stress, form memory to retain information and gives us energy to work and study throughout the day. Therefore, it is imperative that all students attempt to get an adequate amount of sleep.
Unfortunately, sleep deprivation seems to be the norm on this campus and at universities everywhere, as evidenced by a simple conversation with any number of students. However, with the following suggestions, hopefully you will be able to get the amount of sleep you need to make this exam week a roaring (or should we say "snoring") success.
According to the Huffington Post, a sleep routine that you follow every night or most nights before bed can greatly improve the chances of being able to fall asleep fast at a more desirable time. As children, these routines, implemented by parents (think putting on your pajamas, brushing your teeth, being tucked in, etc.), helped most of us hit the hay by signaling to the body that it was time to rest. As adults, the same principle can apply to help your circadian rhythm when it's needed most.
A great way to start such a routine would be to set a time, perhaps an hour or so before your desired sleep time, to stop or limit the amount of time spend looking at a lit screen. Light from cell phones or laptops is known to keep the brain up past the time that it normally would be as it tricks the brain into thinking that it is still daytime.
In place of electronic activities, you can read a book, shower or do any number of tasks that won't keep your brain awake. What is important is that you are consistent, as the repetition of such tasks will signal to your body that it is time to go to bed.
Additionally, the curbing of bad habits during the day can help students fall asleep at night faster so they can take on a college workload. The heavy use of caffeine is rampant on college campuses. As easy as this substance is to consume, the reliance on it is destructive to your circadian rhythm or sleep cycle. Try to use caffeine only when necessary and don't make it a large part of your routine.
Furthermore, long naps during the day can affect your ability to fall asleep at night. It may feel better to sleep during the afternoon in the moment, but it probably won't benefit you in the long run. Try cutting out naps and limiting the naps you do take to a half hour or less.
It is important to note that not everyone has the exact same daily schedule or ideal time to sleep. Some people work better at night while others work better during the morning or afternoon. In any case, it is important to know your own body and adjust your day accordingly.
However, the bottom line is clear that everyone needs an adequate amount of sleep to be productive in school. Anyone can have a great exam week if you simply put the situation of sleep to bed first.