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Friday, April 19, 2024

How getting enough sleep can influence a student’s performance inside, outside the classroom

UC Davis students share their sleep routines and how they affect their daily activities

 

By JULIANA MARQUEZ ARAUJO — features@theaggie.org

 

Many college students are familiar with the concept of stress-induced sleepless nights. Getting good sleep is important for anyone, but for full-time students who have to balance sleep with assignments, classes, hobbies and for many, work, 24 hours can pass them by before they realize it.

However, it is important to prioritize a sum of seven to nine hours of sleep each night in order to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Audrey Vargas, a third-year psychology and biology double major, understands the importance of rest in her schedule, but also acknowledges how difficult it can be to balance that with other key elements.

“I love my sleep; I try to get eight hours a night, [though] it can be hard to manage,” Vargas said. “Especially my freshman year, it was hard when I had a lot of assignments to prioritize, but I would say more recently I’ve had a better head on my shoulders, in the sense of not compromising [my sleep] as much.”

Vargas shared her perspective on time management and how this mentality has contributed to her improvement in prioritizing sleep.

“I think it was more so the realization that school is just a part of your life. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not going to do well in school,” Vargas said.

Inversely, Aileen Perez, a fourth-year genetic and genomics major, tends to lose sleep when she has an important date ahead of her, such as a midterm or final.

“I actually do worse,” Perez said. “I do bedtime procrastination where I just ‘doom-scroll’ for a whole hour before I go ‘Oh, I actually have to go to sleep.’”

In the midst of a taxing period, students may find comfort in social media, as it allows them to take a break from their demanding activities. However, by over-exercising this activity, you can sometimes minimize the amount of rest you gain throughout the night.

In an academic environment, some students who leave studying to the last minute feel an intense amount of pressure and panic, all at once. This pressure can lead to “all-nighters,” where students stay up all night in order to prepare for an exam or complete an essay.

But those who spend their nights studying instead of sleeping may find that their performance in academics does not improve. This is because the hours of sleep you get and your physical and mental well-being go hand-in-hand.

Ana Jauregui, a fourth-year genetics and genomics major, recognizes the importance of a balanced schedule. 

Jauregui shared that she does not easily feel impacted by the pressure of school. Instead, she makes sure to prioritize her study habits in order to reduce stress for nights that may be overwhelming. 

“I try to study periodically,” Jauregui said. “I don’t cram everything all in one day before [a test], so I don’t really do anything differently. I might just do the study guide the night before, but that’s it.”

Students who have additional commitments on top of school, like Genesis Dominguez, a first-year anthropology and art history double major, may especially struggle with finding stability in their routines.

“The biggest thing that affects [my sleep is] working, because it gives me less time to do my assignments,” Dominguez said. “I now have to adjust everything to my schedule, even though [my job] is super flexible.”

The effect of having commitments is often having to sacrifice or reduce other aspects of your life.

“I’ll cut out certain things,” Dominguez said. “I’ll cut out gym time, and sometimes breakfast, I’m not going to lie. Because it’s better for me to get more sleep rather than eat more. Food is something I can carry with me on the go, but sleep is not.”

Everyone’s situation is different, but Dominguez advises incoming freshmen to beware of how many commitments they take on.

“I wouldn’t recommend working in your first year, if you can help it, because it does take away from a lot of other stuff, including sleep,” Dominguez said.

While our commitments are important facets of our lives, sleep is crucial. It gives us the energy needed to seize the day as the best versions of ourselves.

 

Written by: Juliana Marquez Araujo — features@theaggie.org 

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