There’s a classic joke that says college students can only choose two of the following things: good grades, a good social life, or enough sleep. Although students love talking about how much they love sleeping and napping, it is often the goal that gets wrongfully cut. Getting enough sleep is one of the most important things you can do for yourself. It’s directly linked to your mood and focus, and it’s essential in keeping yourself healthy and happy. You must have a proper rest in order to succeed.
Sometimes, we have too much homework and we choose to work on that instead of going to sleep at a reasonable hour. However, if you’re up all night doing homework, then the next day you won’t be able to completely focus on the lecture, or you skip it to sleep instead. This might lead to a cycle of catching up what you missed on top of the regular homework you need to do, thus causing you to stay up even later and lose even more sleep. You might even become sick from the lack of sleep, and then need to miss more class. It’s better to go to sleep and then find time to do the work the next day.
When there’s a prelim the following day, it’s easy to think that it would be better to study all night instead of getting enough sleep. But, if you don’t get enough sleep, your brain won’t be working properly while you take the exam and there’s a higher chance that you won’t remember what you studied. Sometimes, you just have to make the call that you really don’t know anything and that studying is more important than sleeping. On the other hand, it might be better to get more sleep so that you can retain what you already know and then use your well-rested brain to logically think through the problems.
It’s just as important for your happiness to have a balanced social life and academic life as it is to get enough sleep. It’s can be really difficult to leave social situations for sleep, especially when you’re having tons of fun hanging out in your dorm’s lounge or at a party, and you have major FOMO. The odds are that by leaving, you aren’t going to miss anything super unusual. And, people will still be in the lounge having fun the next day and there will still be parties next weekend. You’ll have more fun hanging out when you’ve gotten enough sleep.
There’s no excuse. Even if you think you’re one of those people who “don’t need sleep” and you can function with just a few hours each night, you’ll definitely see a drastic improvement in the quality of your life and feel so much better when you get at least 7-8 hours. There’s no such thing as “not having time” to sleep, have a social life, and do your schoolwork; it’s about finding and repurposing your time so that you can do all of them, and it’s worth it.
Overall it’s tough to prioritize sleep when it seems like just a thing that you’ve done every night for your whole life, but it shouldn’t be dismissed. The next time you think you “need” to stay up and pull an all-nighter, ask yourself if it’s really necessary, or if you’re just wrongfully deprioritizing sleep. So, if you’re reading this while it’s dark outside, turn off your phone or close your laptop, and head to bed.