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Sacrificing Sleep for Late Night Study Sessions is Counterproductive

It’s final exam season, and for most college students, that means a lot of late-night cramming and very little sleep.

To keep their energy up, many students will be reaching for one, several or all of the energy boosting products that are at their disposal. But while the rush they get from coffee, energy drinks, and NoDoz tablets can be exhilarating, the inevitable crash that follows only hampers their overall productivity and can lead to serious health issues and even death.

But there’s another reason to resist pulling all-nighters: they simply don’t work. As UCLA professor of psychiatry Andrew J. Fuligni has reported in the past, sacrificing sleep for late night study sessions is counterproductive. Not only does memory retention tend to require consistent study schedules over time, sleep deprivation can lead to lower test performance. Our bodies simply require adequate sleep to function at their fullest.

Of course that may be of little consolation to today’s busy students trying to keep up with demanding classes, work and extracurricular campus schedules. Education and sleep deprivation tend to go hand in hand. So what can you do?

The good news is there are less harmful ways to stretch the waking hour with less sleep and more productive study habits:

1. Go natural: Dr. Oz says says eating oat straw extract, Rhodiola, no-bake energy bars and kiwi are a great way to give you a rush of energy without bringing you down later.

2. Take a nap: Short-term power naps of 20-30 minutes can have enormous benefits if you’re feeling tired and need a quick lift.

3. Experiment with different study schedules: Instead of long late-night sessions, try getting up early when you’ve got more energy or studying in short bursts throughout the day. This may help keep your attention levels up, providing you with more productive studying and higher test results.

4. Take more productive breaks: Video games can chew up more time than intended. TV can make you sleepy. Instead, replenish the soul with a brisk walk or a quick pep talk from a friend.

5. Eat right, exercise and sleep: It really is that simple. Remember, your brain is a bodily organ, and when it comes to peak performance, healthy bodies work harder and do better than the unhealthy ones.

More good news: we’ve developed tools to make it easier and more affordable than ever to train yourself to get a good night’s sleep. Now, the studying is up to you.

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