Here’s a question for all Kent students, which option would you prefer a few nights out from a final exam:
- Consume a lot of Red Bull and cram late into the night to increase retention.
- Break up your study and get a good night’s sleep.
Okay, so the title of this blog article may have given away the answer, but as our knowledge of the effect of a good night’s sleep on bran retention grows, so does the priority we place on sleep increase. A recent study conducted by the University of Ottawa explored the connection between a person’s sleeping pattern and their memory retention. The study found that in order to learn something new, and then strengthen that skill, the human body needs sleep.
Although on the surface this may sound obvious, students often overlook the importance of sleeping as part of their learning experience. The National Sleep Foundation recommends seven to nine hours of sleep for a healthy adult. If you have not acquired adequate rest in as little as one night, the body has difficulties repairing itself for the next day and you will often feel tired and sluggish for the duration of that day.
Given that sleep is often the first thing to go when a person feels pressure (such as the pressure of a final exam), it is easy to see how a lack of sleep can affect the study potential of a student. The study from the University of Ottawa went a step further than this, explaining that sleep seems to be “actively involved in the formation of memory” (Professor Stuart Fogel).
So, now you know that sleep can have real benefits to your studying, how can you maximise your rest time? Here are some simple steps to take:
- Can the Red Bull – eliminate all caffeinated drinks at least three hours before your bed time, this will reduce your alertness before your body sleeps. Also, don’t go to bed hungry or stuffed, as this discomfort may keep you awake.
- Stick to a Sleep Schedule – Go to bed and wake up at the same time each day and night, this will create a consistent routine for your body to know when it is bed time.
- Power Off – Although it’s tempting to check Facebook and Instagram one last time before bed, this actually has negative consequences for your sleep. Your brain will be stimulated and therefore think it is not yet time for bed, so be sure to switch off before you lie in bed.
Try seeing for yourself the added benefits a good night’s sleep can have on your studying efforts this exam period. Moderating both your study time and sleeping pattern could be crucial to your exam success.