Can sleep really lead to a better score on your exams and better performance in your career?
Most of us are often told to get enough sleep or we should be well-rested for the exams. But that’s hard knowing that we have a massive exam in the morning to do. Especially if it's your FE and PE exams!
Not enough sleep can make you drowsy and delay your reactions, but recent research suggests that pulling an all-nighter during exam week can have more consequences than just making you tired during your tests. Sleep deprivation has been shown to impair memory and raise stress levels, all of which are detrimental.
Having sleepless nights so you can cram for your exams can actually defeat your goals. Due to the fact that not enough sleep will affect your memory, you're unlikely to remember much of what you stayed up late learning about. Stressing out during exam week would also hurt your long-term goal of getting good grades for all of your hard work during the year.
Sleep deficiency can affect your brain and the results of examinations
According to Global Pre-Meds, the effect of having not enough sleep on the brain are:
- Brain works harder – When you lack sleep, the brain is pushed to work harder, and you achieve less. This is according to research. When a person hasn't slept in 35 hours, their brain functions slowly and the language center shuts down entirely, according to imaging findings. This makes it more difficult for people, especially students, to communicate clearly or perform well intellectually. Exams can make it more difficult to complete high-level tasks efficiently.
- Memory Gap – People who don’t have enough sleep tend to forget little about everyday things, and students will have trouble remembering anything they had just studied 12 hours before. This shows that cramming the night before an exam is pointless if you haven't had the recommended amount of sleep. Learning new concepts and absorbing lessons becomes more difficult as well. Many people who don't get enough sleep have difficulty paying attention in class, making it impossible for new knowledge to be processed in their brains.
- Slow Reaction – People who are lack of sleep have a tendency to respond slowly. During exams, this can make it difficult for you to finish a test on time, resulting in lower grades as a result of incomplete tests. This would have a significant impact on students who are under time pressure to complete exams.
- Effects on the Brain in the Long Run – According to some research on sleep deprivation and brain cells, chronic sleep deprivation can harm brain neurons. Mice that were required to remain awake for longer than their daily routine lost brain neurons, according to reports. While the loss of neurons does not result in immediate brain injury, it may inevitably cause some cognitive decline. Read more
How to get better sleep
Sleep is essential for feeling and performs your best, which makes a good night's rest especially important during exams.
Read the tips and suggestions to guide you to wake up fresh and ready:
- Allow time to sleep.
The main thing is to remember is to schedule a time to sleep. When a certain time is required, count the time you want to lie down and then add half an hour for some before bedtime routine you have. The time to turn the lights off then this time is scheduled for real sleep.
- Keep track of what you eat and when you eat it.
Since you've been studying all day, eating late meals will throw off your internal clock and make it difficult to sleep. While you should not go to bed hungry, try to eat a large dinner before 7 p.m. and a smaller snack later if you are still hungry. Certain foods, such as turkey, milk, bananas, and walnuts, are thought to assist sleep because they contain tryptophan, which the body uses to produce melatonin.
- Caffeinated beverages should be avoided as much as possible.
Since the effects of caffeine differ from person to person, aim to avoid all sources of caffeine after 3 p.m. and change accordingly. Caffeine is present in a number of foods, including tea, chocolate, and carbonated beverages.
- Make your bedroom a resting-place.
When you check emails or do some last-minute revision in bed, your brain will stop thinking that your bedroom was a quiet and resting place, and instead, the bed was the place of cognitive arousal and this may cause you difficulty in sleeping. Delete all noisy things from the bedroom area to make it easier to fall asleep.
- Don’t use your smartphone when you’re in bed.
Electronic devices produce both noise and light, both of which prevent you from sleeping. Blue-enhanced light on phones and tablets which we call LCD displays stimulates the body's internal clock (circadian rhythm) and induces melatonin, the “sleep hormone,” releases later or will be delayed. And if you can sleep without melatonin, the sleep you get will be light and unrefreshing. Light can also make you feel more alert, teaching your brain to think of your bed as a source of cognitive arousal.
- Establish a bedtime routine.
Exercising is a perfect way to unwind during exam time because it releases endorphins and enhances the mood. Exercise-induced endorphins, on the other hand, can interrupt sleep. As a result, stop exercising within two hours of going to bed. Instead, use those few hours to create a soothing bedtime routine, such as taking a lavender-scented bath or sitting and reading a book.
- Before going to bed, clear your mind.
The old adage that putting a problem to bed means you'll wake up with a solution holds some truth, but don't let the problem keep you awake. Instead of sitting and ruminating about your day's emotions, keep a journal by your bed and write down your thoughts before going to sleep. Breathing exercises and meditation can also be helpful. Don't lie in bed trying to force yourself to sleep if you can't fall asleep. Instead, follow the 15-minute rule: if you can't fall asleep after 15 minutes, get up, leave the room, and read or rest somewhere else. Return to your room only when you are sleepy again.
- Remember, a bad night's sleep won't harm you.
Your day will be more complicated, and you may need more coffee to work, but after one night of bad sleep, you will make it through the day. Sleep is an autonomic function, which means you can't make yourself sleep, so worrying about not sleeping or the effects of not sleeping the next day will keep you awake. Try not to nap, but if you do, limit your naps to less than 30 minutes and avoid taking them after 3 p.m. Know that if you have a bad night's sleep, you are more likely to sleep the next night! Read More
We need to have 8-9 hours of sleep every night as mentioned above so it allows our brain to function well for the next day, our concentration levels will stay high and we’ll have more energy for the whole day. Most of us think that we can do it without enough sleep. Those who always deprive themselves of sleep usually end up with insomnia, which ends up with long-term problems.
So, if you're trying to learn something, or at least you should be able to remember to pass an exam, being deprived of sleep at the same time is never a productive thing.
Here are some additional tips that might help you as you prepare for your FE and PE exams.
- I never study in the early afternoon. AS this is the time of the day when I am probably less alert.
- I just make sure I get enough sleep a night before my exam.
- I never drink too many caffeinated drinks to remain alert. Caffeine will stay for 6-8 hours in our system and will keep us from sleeping that night before you need it.
So far, by doing this routine I’ve been more relaxed and not too much saying I passed the FE and PE exams and got my engineering license. I think it will also be helpful for you too if you follow my tips to get better grades and stay healthy as well…
Also, you may want to check your mattress to see if it’s time to give that the old heave-ho. We recently upgraded to a Purple mattress and haven’t looked back. You should consider one too as they are pretty awesome. Check them out here.
A new mattress can improve your sleep, help your back, and more. It’s worth it to upgrade if you have the funds.
There's no denying that having enough sleep is critical for optimal day-to-day performance.
Having enough rest before a big exam will make a significant difference in how well you perform. Staying overnight cramming for tests does not lead to better results but can lead to lower grades.
Did you find the strategies listed in this article helpful? How have they worked for you? I’d love to know what you think below or you can email me too.
And if you need more tips and strategies about FE and PE exams check out these other articles.