By Graham "GSM" Matthews
This weekly blog will document my firsthand experiences as a student at Endicott College. Additionally, I will attempt to offer advice to fellow college students or those looking to attend college down the line.
On the long list of things that people tend to take for granted nowadays, sleep most definitely has to be in the top five. College student or not, people simply don't understand the importance and power of sleep and how beneficial it can be for one's health. Granted, the amount of sleep you should get differs depending on how old you are, but a lot of people think they are fine without getting enough sleep. Of course, that couldn't be any further from the truth.
As a high school student, I hardly got any sleep. I was usually up late finishing homework, watching wrestling or writing an article, so I was pretty exhausted during the day that followed. Part of that can be attributed to the fact that it took 30 minutes to school every day (and another 30 minutes back), so sitting in the car at 6:45 in the morning for a half hour caused me to get sleepy rather quickly. It was hard to concentrate during classes, and while it didn't directly affect my academics, I was rarely ever energized (and I didn't drink any of those crappy energy drinks, either). Surprisingly enough, though, all of that has changed since coming to college. Well, for the most part, at least.
Since it doesn't take a half hour to get to classes every day (rather, it takes less than 10 minutes), I am not at all tired during school. And that is coming from someone who has 8 a.m. classes everyday, the earliest time for a class there is. I don't mind getting up at 7 o'clock everyday, as I had to wake up earlier back in high school, so I consider this to be a plus. I have also tried to get to sleep even earlier than I did when I was in high school so I am not absolutely exhausted the next day. Not being tired may seem like a tough task, but it is actually easier than you would think.
You might tell yourself, "I'll go to bed earlier tonight," but let's be honest: you probably won't. You need to fight the temptation to stay up late, that's all. What is worth staying up late for and doing damage to your health? If it is homework, then arrange a time to do it earlier in the day/evening. If it is to watch a television show, then either record it or watch it online the next day (everything is online nowadays). If it is sports, then try to take a nap after classes. If it is partying, then you are simply wasting your time.
This has become a common theme throughout my blog posts, but it is never any less true: Once you are in college, your parents aren't there to hold your hand anymore. You probably won't have any supervision or anyone to tell you to go to bed. It is up to you to control how much sleep you get. Depending on what time you have classes the next day, you might go to sleep at a different time than others, but try to get at least eight hours of sleep. Yes, it is indeed possible if you work your schedule around it and get everything you need to get done earlier on in the day.
I often discuss the excessive amount of complaining college students do (or at least what I have heard from people I know). Sure enough, being "too tired" is certainly one of the bigger things people whine about more often than not. What annoys me about these complaints is that people don't do anything to change them or make them better. Staying up late may be fun temporarily, but it definitely won't be fun the next day when you are falling asleep during class and missing work. Missing a class due to "sleeping in" is also a poor excuse.
Whether you realize it or not, how much sleep you get directly impacts your health. One would think that this is common sense, but for some, it's not. Not getting enough sleep might very well cause you to get sick. I had a busy past seven days as far as homework goes, so I had to stay up on some nights later than I would have liked to. I was already sick, but my lack of sleep caused me to feel even worse over the course of the week. I slept for a solid 11 hours on Friday night/Saturday morning and now feel a lot better.
As previously mentioned, it shouldn't take a rocket scientist to figure out that getting a significant amount of sleep will cause you to be more productive the subsequent day. You also won't have to worry about crashing during class and potentially looking like a fool or getting in trouble. Unless something incredibly important comes up, staying up late is almost never worth it. Be sure to know your limits and how much sleep you need in order to be active and ready to get stuff done the following day.