It is the stressful time at the start of the year again. With board exams just around the corner, students are running around collecting notes and preparing their timetables. However, students fail to understand the importance of a good sleep during their exams hustle.
This time is especially stressful for students who are appearing for both boards, public and civil services examinations for the first time.
Exams mean sleepless nights. More coffee, power naps and less time outdoor with family and friend.
This period of tension is an inevitable part of every Indian teenager’s life.
Exams are a stressful time for students, especially for those appearing for a board or a public or civil service exam.
- This is because of the lack of confidence the students have in themselves
- Partly due to the expectations of parents and teachers
- The ever increasing burden of incomplete studies
- The already stressed out students
Hence, students tend to compromise on their sleep to meet all the expectations.
This growing trend of midnight learning is concerning parents and teachers. Exams are especially the time when students require a good amount of sleep. This is because during exams students tend to become both physically and mentally exhausted faster than other days.
This may lead to experiencing immediate impact of inadequate sleep, during exam time. Lack of sleep can make you feel restless, aggressive, depressed and anxious throughout the day.
Sleeplessness can also cause forgetfulness. It also affects the individual’s quality of learning and concentrating. Whereas, a good night’s sleep promises improved concentration, quicker understanding and better energy throughout the day.
These are chiefly the reasons why a student requires sleep especially during exams. Therefore, sitting late in the night to study or revise does not do you good, on the contrary it limits you from using your full potential.
A good sleep is the key to perform to the best of your abilities before exam.
- It helps relax your mind,
- Helps to memorise what is studied,
- Increases focus and concentration,
- Helps think faster and solve problems quickly,
- Maximise your performance during exam,
- Deals with anxiety, worries thus reducing stress
A students (be it prepping up for exam or no) requires an average of 8 hours of good sleep. However, most of the students do not meet the bar. In fact, the time they get to sleep is so pathetically below what their body needs, that their quality of life gets affected.
The natural sleep cycle of the students is generally disturbed during exams. Late night preps leaves students sleep deprived and it becomes increasingly difficult to compensate the hours they lost the previous night studying.
Besides, the trend of sending students to tuitions and coaching centres proves to be another major cause of sleep deprivation in teenagers. Assignments and submissions leaves them hardly any time to sleep.
Many students complain that their daily assignments and homework are beyond their ability to handle. So naturally, students tend to compromise on their sleep. Because of their irregular sleeping patterns, the rate of sleep disorders like sleep apnea, restless leg syndrome, insomnia etc in teenagers have increased considerably in the past few decades.
Students need to get the required 8 hours of peaceful sleep, even during exams for their brain to function properly. Doctors say that if they cannot afford 8 hours of sleep the night before their exam, they should manage at-least a minimum of 6 hours of sleep.
Students tend to depend on stimulants like coffee, tea, chocolate, etc. to help them stay awake during exams and the nights before. caffeine, is a well known stimulant, the consumption of which even 4 hours before going to bed can delay your sleep.
Besides, in this age of technology, even teaching and learning happens online where students use their mobile phones to study. The shift of notes from hard copies to soft copies seems to reduce the task of taking notes but at the same time has increased health issues.
The emitting blue light from the devices also has its effects on eyes and which disrupts the quality of the little sleep they get. These are unhealthy habits before going to bed, that parents should discourage.
Why students are in greater need of sleep than adults are?
Students are constantly learning new things and comprehending fresh concepts. Their brain is always working and growing. This demands more rest in the form of a good sleep. So students require more sleep than adults and are affected by the consequences of sleeplessness more than adults.
When there is a confusion regarding a matter, it is popularly advised to sleep on it and it actually helps.
Similarly, sleep also benefits learning. Studies suggest that sleeping shortly after studying a new or difficult topic helps you to retain the information for a longer period of time. It has been found that brain activity is high during sleep, contradicting the popular belief that your
whole body rests when you sleep.
While you sleep, your brain works to connect the new information with the knowledge that is already engraved in your memory, so that you can form a better understanding of it. Thus, it helps you to retain the information for a longer period of time.
Students fail to realise that sacrificing sleep for their studies does not actually help them to do better in exams. Rather, lack of sleep has a converse effect on performance.
Studies suggest that students who slept for 7 hours the night before the exam were able to do better than they usually do, and they showed better results than students who did not get adequate sleep. So it is really important to maintain a consistent sleep cycle even during exams.
Here are some good habits that you can adopt to ensure a good sleep quality:
Avoid caffeine intake.
Coffee has been a companion of students during exams since many years. Today, coffee and tea are replaced by modern day chocolates and caffeinated drinks like Red bull and Monster. Students consume these to stay awake throughout the night to study. Little aware of the fact that caffeinated drinks not only keep them awake for sometime, but also disrupt the quality of their sleep when they finally decide to sleep.
Coffee can delay your sleep and cause increased urge to urinate during your sleep. So find other alternatives to keep yourself awake, like
- Washing your face,
- Bathing with Luke warm water,
- Walking around a little bit,
- Taking small breaks,
- Having fruits or nuts to munch.
Get a good mattress
Sometimes your mattress, which is supposed to assist you to sleep properly, can be the reason for your sleep deprivation. You may wake up with body pains if your mattress has worn down. Besides, a bad mattress is capable of disrupting the quality of your sleep.
If you find yourself tossing, turning and trying to find a comfortable position, then your mattress could be the culprit.
Students waking with body aches and soreness after their sleep can completely ruin their study day.
Hence, their mattresses may prevent students from fully utilizing the little time they get to sleep, giving them an unpleasant and uncomfortable sleeping experience.
So parents should make sure to get their teenagers good and appropriate mattresses if their mattresses have become old and worn down.
Avoid use of mobile phone and tabs for studies
Computers and mobile phones are inevitable in today’s world. Even students depend on it to study. Today, notes and study materials are shared with students as soft copies via emails, whatsapp, Pdf’s or word documents.
Students prefer to study on their gadgets during exams as its becomes more handy and on the go notes. However, the blue light emitted by these devises negatively impact sleep. The artificial blue light tricks the brain into thinking it’s not time to sleep yet, and thereby delays sleep.
This is why doctors advise to reduce the use of such gadgets at night and during exams. Unfortunately, students are left with no choice but to study on this device.
It is advised to take printouts of the soft copies to study. Studying through books and notes also helps memorise faster.
In this way, they can make good use of the little time they get to sleep and avoid straining their eyes.
Set sleep schedule and try relaxing techniques
Set a sleep schedule and try to stick to it even during exams. Research proves that following a consistent sleep pattern is more important and more helpful than the actual number of hours that a person gets to sleep.
Prepare your timetable keeping in mind your sleep schedule and follow it consistently. This way you will not find it difficult to fall asleep and wake up at the self-same time everyday.
Also, avoid doing any other activities other than sleeping in your bed, and if possible in your bedroom. Any other association with the bedroom can prevent you from getting satisfying sleep. Besides, keeping work outside your bedroom can help you to relax more easily, by literally distancing you from the stress of the day and worries about work.
In addition, you may try relaxing techniques like meditation, showering, a quick brisk walk, before going to sleep. This may help you to relax quickly and have a good sleep.
Here are some tips to make use of your studying time efficiently and make some time for a good sleep:
- It is recommended that students take a short break of 5 to 10 minutes after studying for 45 minutes straight
- Do not try to study too many topics in one day. Instead study a few topics thoroughly in a day. Also, avoid studying new topics the day before exam
- Mark keywords and important sentences while reading text. This may help you to recollect when you revise
- Try to learn whatever is taught during the class on the same day itself. Then revise it on the 2nd , 7th , 15th and 30th days
- Prepare flowcharts and similar mnemonics. Also, group similar concepts together. This can help you recollect quickly.