Students stave off sleep for grades

Students stave off sleep for grades

With finals getting closer and closer, students at the University are trying to balance sleep, stress and academics to make sure they are ending the year on a good note. Contrary to popular belief, however, staying up all night to study does not result in good grades.

Bob McKinney, an assistant professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral health at the College of Community Health Sciences, said not having enough sleep has negative effects on a person’s memory, ability to think and concentration. 

“I would say for almost everyone, staying up all night and entering an exam with no sleep would be the worst thing you can do,” McKinney said.  

For McKinney, students should not stay up all night to study, but emphasized that both studying and sleep are very important and students should find a balance between the two. 

“We already live in this ADHD culture where people have or think they have an inability to focus,” McKinney said. “So lack of sleep can totally just exacerbate that.”

Alexandria Hallmark, a junior political science major, said she usually stays up late because of her insomnia.

“Even on days when I do feel like I could sleep, I have to stay up because of homework,” Hallmark said. 

Sleep deprivation can cause someone to become moody, quick-tempered and overly emotional. High blood pressure, risk of diabetes, weight gain and the possibility of Alzheimer’s later in life are some of the physical effects poor sleep habits can have on the body over time.

Rell Taylor, a junior majoring in political science, said it seems like he never has enough time to get a full night’s rest. Sometimes he wakes up in the middle of the night wondering if he should get up early and start studying or working on an assignment. 

“For one, I never really feel as alert or awake as I should be," Taylor said. "I often feel as if I’m just dragging myself through the day and counting down until my next nap. It also causes me to have migraines.” 

Not only are students competing academically, they are competing to see who is sleeping less. 

McKinney said students should be mindful of things they enjoy doing, like hanging out with friends and family and hobbies. What people do on weekends is important. 

“Doing those things and participating in those things is not always wasting time,” McKinney said. “It can be wasting time but it can also be a way to keep yourself revitalized, recharged and remember why you’re doing all the other things you’re doing.”

For Taylor, it seems like many students believe that long nights are unavoidable to get good grades.

“Last week, I was telling someone how I was tired and running off a little bit over two hours of sleep,” Taylor said. “She responded by saying that she’s running off of no sleep and that I’d get used to it eventually.”

Taylor said he believes that there isn’t much the University can do to make school less stressful. 

“I’ve just learned to accept that this is all a part of the game,” Taylor said. “I’ll sleep when I graduate, I suppose.”

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