Students: Get some sleep to get ahead

You may be tempted to sacrifice shut-eye for schoolwork. But doing so may only hinder your chances for success.
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Sep 20, 2011
By dvm360.com staff

Ah, the life of a veterinary student: the studying, cramming, social events—sometimes sleep is the last item on your to-do list. But that last item is one of the most important. University of Cincinnati researchers have found that college students could be undermining their own education by not practicing proper sleep habits.

The researchers surveyed student sleeping habits over a 24-hour period against national recommendations, which call for adults to get at least seven to eight hours of sleep. Only 24 percent of the students who were surveyed reported getting adequate sleep—55 percent reported getting less than seven hours of sleep, while 21 percent reported sleeping more than eight hours.

Short-term effects of inadequate sleep include compromised concentration and memory—key factors in any student’s learning efforts. Researchers found that time management, financial concerns and stress management were all factors in why students were reporting they were sacrificing sleep.

Proper sleep hygiene means setting up a proper bedtime ritual to enhance sleep. Here are a few steps you can take each night:

>Keep bedtime and waking time consistent.
> Set up a comfortable sleeping environment—not too bright, too cold, too hot or too noisy. Sleep on a comfortable mattress and pillows.
> Use the bed for sleep, not for studying for exams.
> Turn to relaxing sleep routines such as relaxation exercises or a personal religious ritual.
> Write out worries in a journal to ease stress.

It can be tough to balance your responsibilities as a veterinary student, but sacrificing sleep will only make things harder. So get some shut-eye, then study hard.