We all know the sacrifices students make in the pursuit of their schoolwork. At the top of the list is sleep. Students dedicate their time to their assignments, homework or exam prep and forget about one of the factors that allow them to focus and perform at their best, sleep. We see it all the time, in the movies or tv shows and I’m sure it even premiers in your households, the cliched all-nighter. Despite its comedic appeal in movies, the reality of an all-nighter or affected sleep schedule can interrupt a student’s lifestyle.
It’s no secret that with an irregular or subpar sleep pattern, student’s performance and academic results decline. I mean it seems all too obvious, yet students continue to sacrifice their Zz’s just to complete one more question or one more sentence. Having a solid and consistent sleeping pattern can mean the difference between acing the exam tomorrow or falling asleep in it because you’ve prioritised the wrong thing.
Now your student might not believe you when you tell them this, but trust us, we’re a credible source. Here we go…it takes approximately 4 days to recover from a 1-hour sleep deficit. Just let that sink in. If your student didn’t get the recommended amount of sleep (6-8 hours for those not in the know) required on Monday, realistically they’re not going to recover from it until the weekend. So, for that whole week, they are going to be functioning on a sleep deficit. Now to me, and I hope to you too, that doesn’t sound like a good combination of high-quality academic performance that week at school.
Monitor their sleep. You and your student can take this really literally and get out a pen and paper to jot it all down. Or you can simply take notice of the changes and habits that occurred during their sleep. In doing this, you’ll start to see certain factors or activities that happen before, after or during sleep that contribute to the overall quality of the sleep. Once you’ve figured out what they are and what they are responsible for, you might be able to identify some possible triggers or solutions to get a better night’s sleep.
Look into alternative methods. These could include taking up yoga, efforts of relaxation or simply some visualisation techniques. Such methods could be the key to getting into a deeper sleep. Maybe establishing a bedtime routine would be beneficial. Your body might learn to wind down and follow the necessary steps to getting ready for bed. Or perhaps it might be as simple a trick as blocking out the light or noise. Blackout curtains are one way to achieve this and let me tell you, they work a treat!
Unfortunately, many students suffer from different variations of sleep deficiency. Incorporating these steps into the discussion and solution might ease the pain of getting up each morning for school or early commitments.