Have you ever stayed up past midnight to finish assignments or study for exams? Of course. This is a common occurrence for nearly every college student. We’ve all had those mornings where we had to roll out of bed after a night of not nearly enough sleep, throw on sweatpants, and a t-shirt and trudge across campus to make it to class on time.
Then you’re sitting in class feeling like it isn’t even worth it. You know that attendance can sometimes affect your grade, but when your brain feels like mush and your eyes are slowly blinking as your mind begins to wander away from class, you can almost feel your grade dropping by the minute anyway. I know it can be extremely difficult, but even though you sometimes need to physically hold your head up, showing up is important. Students who show up to class are more likely to obtain better grades regardless of how much they do or don’t pay attention. This is because they are present for any announcements or assignments that they may otherwise miss.
Now, if you really need to sleep in and you think you can afford to, then by all means, sleep in. No one is going to make you go to class anymore. Sleeping less than what is recommended for your age (ages 18-25 should get about 7-9 hours) is very dangerous to your mental and physical health and should not be taken lightly. However, the amount of sleep you get can sometimes be out of your control. Here are a few tips for how you can make the most out of those difficult mornings:
Drink water: You probably didn’t have time in the morning to buy coffee or an energy drink, but the easiest and quickest thing you can do to stay awake is to continually sip on water. This is healthier and cheaper than grabbing coffee or an energy drink, which it works just as well. This can also curb hunger because you probably didn’t have enough time to eat anything yet either.
Write down everything: Whether you understand what’s going on or not, you need to take notes. If the professor is giving a lecture or going over a problem on the board, just write down what they write down. This will help you be more present and more alert, and you can read over the notes you took later in the day. This will also keep you from zoning out and falling asleep. Your note taking method on these mornings should be whatever is easiest for you. We’ve all heard that psychological studies have shown that handwritten notes help you put the material into memory quicker, but if typing is easier, then do that. The point here isn’t to memorize everything, but to keep a record of it so you can look at it later and better understand it. If the professor is going over problems or covering material on specific pages in the textbook, write down the page numbers so you can look over them later.
Pay special attention during the beginning or end of the lecture: This is usually when professors remind the class of important deadlines, which could become a determining factor in your overall grade. Now I know this seems like a lot of writing, but it isn’t as difficult as it sounds. All you need to focus on are deadlines, page numbers and aimlessly writing as many notes as you can. With those three things, you can ensure that going to class that morning wasn’t a waste of your time, and you’re less likely to fall behind on the course material.
Give yourself a break: I know this may seem impossible to do, especially as midterms come around, but it’s the most important thing. According to the University of Georgia, college students only get 6 hours of sleep per night on average, which is definitely not enough to maintain physical or mental health. If you spent all night studying, you deserve a nap after class. If your daily life consists of getting no sleep, you need to let yourself relax more and make time in your day to care for yourself. You deserve to make yourself a priority. Otherwise this can lead to health problems, both physical and mental.
Above all, you should try to find a stress reliever that works for you. Maybe after you take a nap you should go to the gym or listen to some music. Always remember that your health comes first, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
We should all be sleeping more, going to class with energy and spending time on self care, but that’s just not realistic for most of us. This is why there are tips for making it through classes when all you want to do is go back to sleep. In college, it is our responsibility to take our education and our mental health into our own hands. Everyone should find what works for them. So the next time you find yourself groaning at your early morning alarm after hitting snooze for the fifth time, give some of these tips a try and see how they work for you.
To view the study conducted regarding the average amount of sleep college students get, as well as other helpful information regarding sleep, check out this link: https://www.uhs.uga.edu/sleep