Students need to get their snooze on for finals week

A student sits alone at his desk with cans of soda and piles of class notes strewn about the desk and floor. The room is a mess and the student, asleep, is unaware of the watch ticking on his hand that reads the same time as his final exam. This scene is common during the final days of a semester.

As finals approach, many students are faced with the task of organizing their time between work, home and school activities to allow more time to study. As it happens every year, there will be those students who procrastinate and wait too long to start studying, which leads to problems.

According to some students on campus, sleep deprivation does not increase during finals time, but rather is a continuation of it from throughout the semester.

“I’ve stayed up late a couple times, but usually not for finals,” Andrea Guerra, a junior English major, said. “Once, when I was a freshman, I pulled an all-nighter. I spent the whole day reading a book I had to write a paper on, stayed up until four in the morning, bombed it and had to rewrite it. My teacher made me cry. I always think about that moment whenever I write a paper.”

Freshman civil engineering major Dolores Chavarria also had an experience with sleep deprivation that lead to an unwanted grade.

“One time I got a ‘C’ after studying all night long. I got no sleep at all,” Chavarria said. “I’d recommend a week or more of studying before a test.”

Psychiatric nurse practitioner Anne Thompson of the Student Health Center had some suggestions for students looking to stay up late the night before finals.

“One of the things students need to do is drink plenty of water and stay hydrated,” Thompson said. “A common problem students deal with due to sleep loss is depression. This can lead to consuming alcohol during study time. Students can avoid depression through exercise. Just get out and walk around for a while until you’re out of breath.”

According to professor Gail Farmer of the health and human services department, there are many healthy ways to study for exams that don’t include cramming.

“Try not to procrastinate and start preparing for exams earlier,” Farmer said. “Try getting up earlier and taking breaks – maybe ‘cat naps’ with an alarm clock – several times.”

Students who fail to get enough sleep or eat properly when studying will be unable to retain information, according to Farmer.

“Sleep deprivation compromises the ability to learn and retain new material,” Farmer said. “Sleep deprivation also results in poorer judgment.”

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