Finals week is approximately one month away. Are you ready?
We know that finals cause stress, which leads to inevitable freak-outs and all-nighters — which, in turn, can cause damage to many a student’s sleep schedules and grades.
“I mostly do all-nighters,” CU sophomore Kevin Ludolph said. “Days I don’t have tests, I study all day, take naps in the afternoon and then stay up all night.”
Sophomore Emily Bresko concurred, saying, “I pull all-nighters. I take naps all the time, though — finals week or no finals week.”
Believe it or not, you really do need sleep before exams. It seems students have the right idea when it comes to naps, but pulling all-nighters right before tests isn’t the greatest idea.
“If you have a choice between an all-nighter and a few hours of sleep, take the few hours of sleep — you’ll do better on the exam,” said Dr. Michael Weissberg, certified sleep specialist from the Boulder Community Sleep Disorders Center.”
Here are five tips for getting Z’s during finals week. So put down the Adderall and Red Bull and read on:
No work, only sleep
When in small dorms or apartments, the bed becomes a central piece of furniture. Stop it. You need to only do “sleepy time” things in your bed and lay off the studying, reading, laptop use and eating there. If you do work in your bed rather than actual bed time activities, your brain won’t register that it’s time to sleep when you lay down at night.
Write it down
One thing that keeps many people up at night is the hundreds of things they have running through their head. Keep a pen and paper next to your bed and before you go to sleep, write down everything. Make to-do lists, write down ideas, fears, anything and everything you need to get out of your mind so your brain can calm down.
Don’t force it
Trying to make your body do just about anything isn’t the best idea. And this includes sleep. When you lie down, don’t think about trying to sleep. Hide your clock so you don’t stare at the time for hours and then worry even more. If you can’t fall asleep within a half an hour or so, get up and do something productive, then try again later.
“The enemy of sleep is trying to sleep,” Weissberg said. “The moment you start thinking about trying to sleep you won’t be able to.”
Try drinking some non-caffeinated tea, warm milk or soy milk before bed. (No, alcohol is not allowed.) Boulder’s own Celestial Seasoning’s has its herbal “Sleepytime Tea,” which is specifically made to help you unwind. Otherwise there are plenty of non-caffeinated teas out there, and instead of adding sugar, try honey to sweeten it up.
We all know the joke about guys falling sleep after “doin’ the dirty,” but it really can put you to sleep. After your body goes through all that “exertion,” it’s natural reaction is to relax and pass out. So grab your significant other, or some random off the street if you’re desperate, and get some! (Of course, we always suggest being safe, so grabbing a random probably isn’t smart — and always “wrap it up”).