by Amy Barfield, Ph.d. with the Counseling and Testing Center
With Spring Break just around the corner I like to ask students that I see if they have any plans for the break. More often than not, I get the response that “I’m going to catch up on sleep!”
While I can definitely appreciate having a break from academic routines and responsibilities, it does highlight how often we treat our bodies like rechargeable batteries. We keep going and going, using every last reserve of energy and then crash on the weekends or over breaks in the hopes of “catching up” or “storing up” sleep for the next go round.
While we can get away with this every now and then, our bodies were not meant for long term use of this method.
Chronic sleep deprivation has an impact on learning and academic performance. Without adequate sleep we are unable to “consolidate” memories. This means that we will have a harder time learning and then later remembering that information if we are sleep deprived.
While pulling that all-nighter might seem like a good idea because you do not feel prepared, research suggests that you will do poorer overall because your ability to recall information and process it effectively is hindered from sleep loss.
Instead, try to keep a regular sleep schedule to help you maintain your focus in classes and while studying. Then let your brain go to work while you sleep and consolidate that information so that you can access it again later.