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Don’t Let Sleep Deprivation Impede Your College Success

Don’t Let Sleep Deprivation Impede Your College Success

High school students are notorious for staying up late and burning the midnight oil, especially when they’ve got an exam to study for or a project deadline looming.

But findings in neuroscience suggest that missing sleep comes with a cost, and that cost increases as you age. Sleep deprivation has been shown to play havoc with your brain, your metabolism, and your overall biochemistry.

If you’re going to college as an adult, you’ll soon discover that all night cram sessions don’t pay off the way they did when you were in high school. You may struggle to remember key concepts or to muster the energy needed to fully participate in your activities.

Clearly, you need to find another way to get your studying done if you want to succeed.

Finding time to study may feel like a daunting task, especially if you have multiple demands on your time. But if you follow the three tips I outline below, you will find you have time for not only your studying, but all the other important activities in your life as well.

Use a calendar

First, use a calendar to schedule everything you need to do each day. Don’t leave anything out. Schedule your shower, your workout, each meal (including time for meal prep), your appointments, and your study time.

Don’t forget to schedule time to be with friends and loved ones as well. Be specific about how you intend to spend your time, and be comprehensive so that nothing gets left out.

And be sure to schedule enough time to get all the sleep your body needs.

If you find your day is getting away from you and you aren’t getting to everything you’ve scheduled, try spending a few days tracking what you are doing. Every 15 minutes, stop and write down how you are spending your time.

Keeping track of your time in this way will help you to see whether there are hidden forces sabotaging your efforts to take control of your time.

Schedule wisely

Scheduling your time can help you take control of your life. It can also help you get to everything you feel is important.

But if you don’t schedule your time wisely, you’re sure to experience frustration, and even failure.

Scheduling your time wisely means knowing which tasks are open-ended and thus not likely to be completed in a single time slot, and which activities are time-consistent.

For instance, all of the activities that make up my morning routine are time consistent. I know that each morning I need 30 minutes to meditate, and another 5-10 minutes to write down any thoughts that come up during my meditation.

I also know I need one hour to complete my morning workout. And I know that after working out, I’ll need about 40 minutes to shower and dress, and another 20 minutes for breakfast.

So now I no longer write out all these details on my calendar. Instead, if I have a 9:00 a.m. appointment, I know I need to be out of bed no later than 6:30 so that I can complete my morning routine.

But other tasks are harder to schedule, like writing articles or completing assignments for school. These kinds of creative tasks require time for your creativity to begin to flow.

If you try to constrain the time you spend on creative tasks, you risk finding yourself feeling stuck.

For many people, unlocking their creativity is a lot like siphoning water out of a fish tank. At first the water just dribbles out. But eventually it begins to flow.

That’s why you need to schedule large blocks of time for creative tasks.

And on days that you have a lot to accomplish, make sure that the time you schedule for creative tasks is followed by things that can easily be rescheduled, like walking the dog or going to the grocery store. That way, if you find your creativity is flowing, you won’t have to disrupt it.

Remember this when scheduling time to complete creative tasks. Not giving yourself enough time to get into the flow state may leave you feeling frustrated and wanting to give up.

Make your calendar your friend

Check your calendar at least twice each day, once when you wake up to remind yourself of what you are going to be doing, and once before you go to bed at night, to allow your subconscious to help you prepare for the following day.

By taking control of your time, scheduling wisely, and making your calendar your friend, you’ll be able to avoid the need to sacrifice your much-needed sleep.