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Why Sleep Is The Best Way to Get Through Finals Week

Summer is almost here. But before we say goodbye to our assignments and study guides, we must face the dreaded, rigorous, and hectic finals week. 

My cup of coffee does the trick when it comes to surviving my classes and pushing myself to do all my homework before I fall asleep. It helps but what happens when the caffeine in our body runs out? Do we drink another cup of coffee? Push ourselves? Do we go back to bed? Caffeine can only do so much. For the last week of the semester, let’s take the time to show some love to our bodies and minds by catching up on those sleepless nights we may have endured this semester. Let’s try and skip the caffeine (and only take it when we need it). We may be hitting the final stretch, but there are still many things that need to be done. Here’s how getting more sleep can help us finish off the school year on a high note. 


1. More energy 

There are days where I am physically and mentally exhausted. I tell myself that I can finish the work and that I can push through it a bit more. Most of the time, once midway through the assignment that I am doing, or maybe even after, I feel worse than when I started. Pushing ourselves to limit is great, but our bodies can only take so much. By taking short naps or giving ourselves more time under the blankets, we can boost our energy. We can feel refreshed and ready to take on the day and our long to-do lists that we may have prepared beforehand. During this time, we should always be eager and excited when we check off something from our to-do lists, since it means that we are one step closer to the summer break. More importantly, having enough energy allows us to take on the long day ahead of us, and produce the best work. We don’t want to feel sluggish and like we wasted an entire day, since it can cause us to panic and think that we don’t have enough time to finish everything. 


2. Increase in productivity

More energy equals more productivity. When I wake up and feel like I didn’t get enough rest, I don’t expect myself to be productive. My energy is down and all I want to do is sleep. Yes, getting multiple naps within a day can solve this problem, but I find that this makes me even more unproductive. If I have more energy, I will be excited to take on the day. I am at ease and enthusiastic to be able to do my assignments and to study for my upcoming exams. My mindset completely changes. When I am able to complete the majority of the tasks that I had scheduled for that day I am happy and content once I hit the pillow. Moreover, I seem to manage my tasks in a timely order. This is the goal whenever I hit finals season: to have the energy to be efficient. The more time I spend studying or reviewing my class’ content, the more time I have to understand and hopefully master the content. I am more prepared and confident when it is time to face the music, and isn’t this what we all want to exude whenever we enter finals week? 


3. Calms down your nerves

I wish I could say that I was as cool as a cucumber during this season, but I am not. When all of my assignments and exams are squeezed into one week, whether it be earlier or later, I could hear myself thinking, “I don’t have time, I don’t have time.” I wake up and rush into the day with the wrong mindset. If you think of your assignments as items to cross out for the sake of crossing it off, you might not remember that much. Lately, I have been counting down the hours of sleep I get, but when I wake up it hits me. Quality over quantity. When I wake up, eat breakfast, and take a few minutes or hours out of my day to give myself some self-love, like indulging in TV shows or movies that I enjoy, I know that I will be successful because of the mindset I have. Instead of saying, “I can’t. I don’t have the time,” you can say, “I can and I will.” I have learned the hard way that if you enter something feeling extremely nervous, most likely, your work will represent your nervousness and not your knowledge. We don’t want that do we? Think of it this way: keep calm, sleep, and do well. 


4. Memory improves

In the past, I have entered exam rooms as well as submitted assignments where I have lacked sleep just to finish. I can’t help but feel this sense of regret, knowing that I would have done better had I took the time to sleep. I remember looking at the test, racking my head and saying to myself, “I know this. I know this. Why can’t I remember it.”  The more frustrated I got, the more the answer seemed to fade away in my brain. In an article called, “Memory and Sleep published by Sleep Foundation, the author, Danielle Pachecho, says that when we are sleep deprived, the brain “does not have sufficient time to create new pathways for the information” we have learned. So, if we want to remember the information that our professors have taught us so well this past semester, we must sleep. I can attest to this. In freshman year, I remember entering my history exam nervous because I felt like I didn’t review enough. But I felt good because I had such a deep sleep that day. I glanced at my notes and thought, “Will I remember this?” I took one look at the test and I could feel the cabinet in my brain labeled “history notes” open. From there, everything seemed to come out smoothly. I did have some hiccups as I answered some questions, but I trusted myself enough to know that I could do it and that I knew the answers. 


5. Boosts the Immune System  

Now is not the time to get sick. Not only are we in a pandemic, but also you want to ensure that you are in the best position to be productive. If you feel more sluggish than usual, then you know that you may be pushing yourself too much. In an article written by Eric Suni and medically reviewed by Dr. Kimberly Truong, titled “How Sleep Affects Immunity,” Suni says that “sleep provides essential support to the immune system. Getting sufficient hours of high-quality sleep enables a well-balanced immune defense that features strong innate and adaptive immunity, efficient response to vaccines, and less severe allergic reactions.” This is the last time we get to see our professors and show them our knowledge and prowess. More importantly, we are able to track our progress and see just how much information we have accumulated and understood over the past months. So, if you are feeling under the weather, turn off the lights and fall into a deep sleep. Don’t burn yourself out too much. Now is not the time to experience that either. Remember, your health is key to performing well. 


I know and understand that there is a lot on your plate at the moment, but dear reader, don’t forget about yourself. This is an important week, so sleep. You know you need it. 

Good night and sweet dreams. 

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Belle Tan

Emerson '23

Belle Tan is a senior at Emerson College majoring in Creative Writing with a minor in Publishing and Music History and Culture. During her free time, she enjoys playing the flute, singing, reading, writing, and spending time with family and friends.
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