Exam Week: A Student’s Guide to Potential Sleep Deprivation

Exam Week Sleep Issues

Everyone who has ever attended high school or college knows how terrible exam week is. There is nothing worse than trying to sleep when you know that there are about a million other things that you could be doing. And probably that you should be doing.

But don’t freak out! Everyone experiences some kind of exam week, and everyone gets through it. There’s no way to promise that you’ll get through it with straight A’s, but how much can you really ask of someone?

It’s stressful, and everyone gets that. But your job is to get through it. Because you know that the light at the end of the tunnel is a break. Time to rest and relax and sleep off the stress. And the all-nighters.

Speaking of not sleeping. We all know that’s a problem for everyone during exam week. How do you sleep when you’re this stressed out?! Should you sleep in small increments?! Should you opt for caffeine in favor of actual sleep?! Will you ever need any of this ever?! Probably not. But we’re going to get through this with a few tips.

1.    Keep some paper and a pen next to your bed

When you’re stressed out, especially when you’re stressed out over exams, there are about a million things happening in your head at the exact moment that you’re about to go to sleep.

Keep something to write on and something to write with next to your bed so that when your brain starts to remind you of all the things you can’t forget to do, you can write those things down and relax your mind enough to sleep.

2.    Keep your normal sleep schedule as much as you can

It’s understandable that you’re up at all hours trying to remember every little thing you’ve learned since the beginning of the semester, but try to keep your sleep schedule as much as possible. Keeping that normal will help your body feel normal even when you’re getting less sleep than you usually do.

3.    Take breaks

It’s important to take breaks now and then. Your brain, even when fueled by a LOT of caffeine, cannot work on overdrive constantly. It needs a rest sometimes, and these breaks can be just closing your eyes and relaxing, watching your favorite TV show, or playing a simple mind game.

4.    Give yourself at least half an hour to relax before really going to sleep

Right after you stop studying or reading or whatever it is you have to do to prepare for your exams, your brain is still buzzing. Take half an hour to do something relaxing to wind down.

5.    Power naps!

Power naps are great when they’re used the right way. Mostly, it has to do with whether or not they make you feel refreshed. For many people, half an hour of sleep in the middle of studying only makes them more tired, and they tend to stay asleep rather than getting back to studying.

6.    Priorities

It is so important to prioritize. Remember that there are classes that you need to study for more than others, and if you’re lucky, there are classes that you hardly need to study for!

Sometimes, there just aren’t enough hours in the day to do all the studying you need to do. Think about what you need to study for most, and go from there.

7.    Caffeine is okay when you’re sleepy

There’s nothing wrong with some coffee around 2am. It’s exam week, and that’s just how it’s going to be sometimes.

When you’re tired and you need a pick me up, have some coffee. You’ve worked hard and studied hard for this.

8.    Understand the week

Keep it in perspective. Understand that exam week is tough, and sometimes, to do well, you have to sacrifice your sleep. But keep in mind that you should never try to stay up all week. Your body can’t survive that long without sleep. Accept that you’re going to get less sleep, but never settle for no sleep. Your health is far more important than an exam!


Author: This article was written by Kate Stefanski. Kate is currently wrapping up her first year of college and has vowed not to have a repeat of her sleepless finals week last semester. When she isn’t hitting the books, Kate writes for Saatva Mattress. To learn more about Kate and get more advice on healthy sleep habits, visit her Google+.

1 Comment

  1. Finals :(



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