There is a prevailing trend of secondary school students getting less and less sleep per night. The decrease in number of hours of sleep can be attributed to factors such as the early starting times for secondary schools, most secondary schools start between 7-8 am. The constant need for students to be studying for their ‘O’ Levels. Secondary school students are on average sitting for 7 to 8 subjects, resulting in them having a lot of content to cover. This may cause them to sleep less in order to ‘have more time’ to finish going through their materials. Students also tend to spend a lot of time on their phone after going to bed, checking their social media accounts and texting their friends. This actually lowers their quality of sleep. The consumption of caffeinated products and energy drinks in order to help them stay awake also makes it harder for them to fall asleep at night. Many students go sleep later and wake up earlier due to a combination of the aforementioned reasons.
The lack of sleep is detrimental to the body and causes students to be less productive. We will be going through some points on why sleep is extremely important for students and a tip on how you can prime yourself for the exams.
1. Sleeping helps you to retain information better
Firstly, sleep helps you to retain information better. The brain processes a large amount of information during the day and forms memories from the information processed. Without sufficient sleep, you may experience a bit of ‘fogginess’ in your brain when you are trying to remember what you did the day before or the materials you have covered. You may not be able to remember them perfectly or even at all and this is extremely counterproductive for students. The effort spent staying up late and revising for the whole day would have been for naught if you are not able to access it at your fingertips. When you are sleeping, your brain consolidates the information acquired and recalled while you are awake and this is an extremely important process that helps ensure that you are able to remember what you have studied. Not getting enough sleep would actually hinder this process!
2. Sleeping keeps you refreshed and at your best throughout the day
Secondly, getting sufficient sleep helps to keep you refresh and at your creative best. Getting enough sleep will prevent you from being unnecessarily sleepy throughout the day. Some students find it difficult to focus and pay attention during lessons or revision as they are constantly dozing off. This causes them to miss out on the vital points gone through during lessons or from their notes. Sufficient sleep will help to ensure that you are able to focus better in order to maximize the time you spend in school. You will become more productive as well as learn more efficiently. Sleep also helps to improve your judgement and motor skills which are very important when it comes to making smart decisions. Sleep deprived students tend to think that they are right when they are in fact wrong. They find it harder to reason and think clearly, even causing them to lose precious marks during the examinations.
3. Starting a sleep schedule ahead of the exams
Exams are usually held early in the mornings when school starts. It is common for students to spend the days leading up to an exam staying up late to revise. They may not be getting sufficient sleep as a result and this hinders their mind from being in an optimal or peak condition as it is not used to recalling vast amounts of information at that time. One important way in preparing yourself for an exam is to start a sleep schedule, according to your exam timing, a week in advance. If you have a paper that starts at 9am, make sure you wake up at 7.30am every day a week before that. This adjustment in your sleep cycle will help to condition your brain to ‘start working’ and this time so that when you sit for your 9am paper, you will be ready instead of being dazed from having to wake up so early!
Sleep is a biological necessity, it is essential for your body and mind to have enough rest in order to perform at your best. It is counterproductive for students aiming to do well to not get enough sleep as it affects your ability to remember what you have studied and causes you to always be sleepy. It is vital for secondary school students to start developing good sleeping habits from a young age for their health and academic performance.