How to Correct a Sleep Deficit and still Find Time to Study

Often, students try to pack a multitude of activities into a twenty-four hour period.  School, sports, part-time jobs, volunteering, activities with friends and family, T.V. and electronic  games all make demands on a young person’s time. The unfortunate result is that too many suffer from chronic sleep deprivation. In addition, quality time for studying is either absent or woefully inadequate.

In order to correct this imbalance, it will be necessary for the student, alone or with a parent,  to pause, reflect on the necessity of prioritizing activities at this stage of life, and  use self-discipline to set up and follow an appropriate agenda for each day’s activities. Here are a few tips which may be helpful.

Get priorities straight

Recognize that, for the present, doing well in school should be “Priority One”. You are building the foundation for a satisfying career and financial stability for the rest of your life. This will not only benefit you, but your future family as well. The wise decisions and sacrifices you make now will pay dividends throughout  your entire life.   

Pay attention to internal clock

Some of us are early birds, and others, nighthawks. If you are most alert and energetic early in the morning, this time should be devoted to homework and studying. Similarly, those who are night owls should work in the evening to attain scholastic goals. Your top priority deserves your attention when you are most focused and clear-minded.

Deal with nagging concerns first

It is difficult to concentrate when peripheral worries and outstanding tasks are competing for your attention. Return that library book, buy the birthday gift, mail the RSVP card before you begin to study. That way, you can attack the books with an uncluttered mind.

Limit social activities

You will have many years to socialize in the future. The effort you put into academics now will decide the lifestyle and quality of leisure activities you will be able to enjoy then. Don’t trade a few hours of ” chilling” with pals after school for the possibility of Mediterranean cruises and European vacations in the future.

Study a little each evening

Trying to cram for exams when you’re already overtired can be a recipe for failure. Review and drill work covered every weekend, so you will have a head start on studying at exam time. Make summaries, list important points in each topic and memorize Mathematics formulae. A quick review of your notes may be all that’s needed at exam time.

Establish a bedtime routine

Make a schedule that ensures you’ll get at least eight full hours of sleep each school night. Stick to the schedule except in case of a dire emergency. You cannot function at your best if you’re not well rested. Establish a bedtime routine that signals your body it’s time to rest. Take a warm bath, read, listen to music, relax before you turn out the light. Go to sleep planning for the happy life you’re working for, in the years ahead.

Sometimes students, busy with the competing demands for their time and attention, will need parental guidance to recognize and accept these tips for academic success. Homework, studying and sleep can seem pretty dull and uninviting compared to extracurricular activities, sports, games and socializing.

It may be the time to sit your student down and firmly point out the reasons for getting sufficient rest and making academic success “Priority One”.  As you watch over his physical development, you also need to encourage his mental development. It’s one of the  requirements of responsible parenting.