The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University

The Ring-tum Phi

Sleeping is better than studying in more ways than one

Xiaoxia Yin

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It’s about the end of the semester. Students are busy preparing for their finals. An increasing number of students start to stay in the library until late at night or visit it early in the morning. People are more likely to hear the complaints of “I only slept an hour yesterday because I was preparing for a test” and “I didn’t sleep the whole day so I could write a paper” from their friends.

For some college students, it seems fair and worthy to use their resting times in “exchange” for the good grade. However, by studying the whole day without sleeping or even taking a nap, do they get a very good grade? Probably not all the time.

In fact, sleeping has a restorative function. Neuroscientists found that less sleep is associated with poor cognitive performance: people who don’t sleep find it hard to pay attention.

Take my own experience as an example–if I don’t sleep at all the whole night and go to class the next day, no matter how engaging the class is and how interesting the pro- fessor is, I have to try much harder to focus on the class. I even do worse than I would in a boring class when I get enough sleep.

As a result, I have to review the material from that day of class and come to the professor’s office hours to ask questions I should have understood in the class, which is inefficient and time-consuming.

Sleeping is also crucial to memory storage. Studying instead of sleeping the night before the test is not smart: memorizing is a long and complicated process that takes time to form and consolidate memory. And sleep- ing is a process that can strengthen the memory.

If you try to sacrifice sleeping time to memorize the accumula- tive knowledge you should learn in a day-by-day process, trust me, the result will be terrible.

Certainly, people’s sleeping sched- ules are different. Some people still feel tired after sleeping ten hours each day while some people feel energetic with only three hours of sleep every day.

Although different people demand varying amounts of sleep, it’s important to keep a regular biological clock. Try to regularly keep track of how much time you spend sleeping, and ensuring you get some sleep is a good strategy to accomplish high quality academic work efficiently.

In other words, it is more important to work in the days leading up to an assignment rather than only on the day before the assignment is due. Preparing earlier, putting in effort daily and getting enough sleep could earn you a better grade.

So, next time, at the end of a hard, work-filled day, go to bed. When you wake up in the morning, you will feel energetic and ready for the new beautiful day.

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The student newspaper of Washington and Lee University
Sleeping is better than studying in more ways than one