Sleep is Required to Succeed

Late nights, parties, and cramming for tests at the last minute are just a part of the standard routine for college life, right? Sleep is not really related to success in school, right? Maybe it is time to take at look at why mothers and college counselors are giving the same advice.”You need your sleep.” It is time to separate fact and fiction.

Extreme sleep deprivation can cause physical pain. Headaches and even migraines can be related to a lack of sleep. Taking a test, or even listening to a lecture can be very difficult if you are a student in physical pain.

One of the symptoms of lack of sleep is “brain fog”. The term describes a specific set of behaviors. There is lack of mental activity, decreased ability to recall short term memories or instructions, decreased attention span, lack of focus, difficulty in concentration, and inability to think clearly. None of these particular situations are helpful when it comes school studies.

Some of the other physical issues associated with lack of sleep are profound. The National Sleep Foundation  explains some of the physical issues. Your coordination and motor functions are affected in a negative manner with lack of sleep. Reaction times are severely delayed with sleep deprivation.  Your cardiovascular system shows a performance that is less than superb. The body simply does not function as it should.

Now comes the tricky part. There is not a magic number of hours of sleep that is needed that will work for every individual. The minimum amount of  a body needs to sleep on regular  basis for optimal performance is called basal sleep. The other term that is important to know is sleep debt.  This is the accumulated amount of sleep that been missed due poor habits, restless sleep, late nights or sleep interruptions. It is kind of like credit card debt is needs to be worked off and the way to do that is with more sleep.

So the key to finding the perfect basal number is a little experimentation. Try for 7 ½ to 8 hours of sleep as that is the norm. Adjust it up and down until you find what feels right and gives you the mental and physical levels you are looking for. Then try for that number nightly. If you end up owing yourself some sleep you have to make it up to get the best results.  Since the body has circadian dips that happen within a 24 hour cycle, it is best to pay the sleep debt within a 24 hours period.

Grades can improved and studying can be easier if the body and mind are rested.