Why is sleep so important for our studies?

Are you waking up tired? It could affect your studies.

Now that we are well into Semester 1 at AIS, it's likely you would have found a routine for attending your studies. It can get busy, especially when assignments and study all pile up, and one thing most likely to suffer will be your sleep.

A bad night of insufficient sleep can not only make you grumpy, but you may also feel physically and mentally drained. There are many reasons why sleep is important, not just for our studies, but also our overall health. Here, we cover exactly what benefits you'll get from adequate sleep, and also ways you can get a better night of shut eye.

How much rest do you get each night?How much rest do you get each night?

The cycles of sleep

It's useful to know how the cycles of sleep work to understand why sleep is so important to our wellbeing.

WebMD explains that there are two main types of sleep – rapid-eye-movement sleep (REM) and non-REM sleep. When we drift off, we cycle through three stages of non-REM sleep, falling deeper and deeper into unconsciousness with each of the three stages until we reach REM sleep. This is when dreams typically occur.

Our bodies will experience a short period of REM sleep before starting the cycle over again.

What happens when we don't get enough sleep?

Get enough sleep each night to stay sharp during lectures.

When we don't allow enough hours for sleep each night, we experience fewer cycles of sleep, and consequently, less REM sleep. Our brain and body doesn't get enough time to rest and recover and will feel fatigued the next day. Even if we feel completely fine, our bodies might micro-sleep. This is when we go into such a light state of sleep, we can still function doing everyday tasks (even driving!) but we don't remember doing so. During your industry related courses, you may find your brain blanking during lectures.

With brains slower to respond, it can be harder to retain information from our courses. Memory, both short- and long-term are affected. When it comes to building skills needed for a career, it can be difficult if we've not been able to focus during the foundations of our studies. There will be trouble staying attentive, making logical decisions and we can also get easily frustrated and irritable.

Sleep is also a crucial time when our body rests and recuperates. If we're running low on sleep, it'll take longer to recover from an illness, and our immune systems aren't able to protect us from sickness as well as it should.

According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, adequate sleep plays a large part in our cardiovascular health, and continuous sleep deprivation can increase the risks of many chronic health conditions. It just goes to show the many benefits of simply getting enough sleep each night.

Do you know how lack of sleep can affect your studies?Do you know how lack of sleep can affect your studies?

How can you get a better night's sleep?

First, you need to find out how much sleep is ideal for your schedule. It really depends on your lifestyle habits, such as what you eat and how much you exercise. The Sleep Foundation recommends between 7-9 hours sleep for young adults aged between 18 and 25. If you have trouble getting out of bed in the morning, it's likely that you've not had enough sleep.

We need a certain amount of REM sleep, so don't rely on naps to get you through the day after a short night of sleep. Generally, as naps are shorter, we get less REM sleep. While they can get us through the day, the best method is still 7-9 hours of uninterrupted sleep in a comfortable bed.

To help you fall into a slumber quickly, it's best to avoid using any phones, laptops or computers up to half an hour before you head to bed. This is because the screens contain blue light, which suppresses the secretion of melatonin – a hormone which makes us sleepy. This means it will take longer to get to sleep, and we may not snooze as peacefully as we could have.

Hopefully, by putting some of these tips to good use, you could see your brain more active and awake during studies. If you need further help with any course support, feel free to contact the team at AIS today.