Why You Should Sleep Now and Study for the EPPP Later

You may have started this week off with yawns as we set our clocks one hour ahead on Sunday. Although only one hour was lost, it could have some effects on how we function.

Perhaps you don’t need Daylight Saving Time to lose an hour of sleep. Maybe you come to the end of a day and need to study for the EPPP for one more hour before you go to bed. Don’t be so eager to get that late night caffeine boost to stay awake because time spent sleeping might be just as valuable as time spent studying. And time spent studying on less than seven hours of sleep might not be valuable at all.

As it turns out, yawning is not the only side effect of losing sleep.

An article by Reader’s Digest called America’s Sleep Crisis is Making us Sick, Fat, and Stupid. But There’s Hope  sourced the National Sleep Foundation, saying that everyone needs seven to nine hours of sleep every night for optimal body and mind function.  Many of us are not getting that, especially if we are compromising sleep for an extra hour or so of studying for the EPPP. The choice to lose sleep not only makes us tired but it also affects our cognitive function. Reader’s Digest looked into the affects:

A 2003 study done at Henry Ford Hospital showed that losing two hours of sleep in one night – for instance, sleeping six hours instead of eight – had an effect on performance equivalent to drinking two to three beers.

Alcohol consumption affects our ability to retain information and stay focused. Performing on the sleep equivalent of drinking two to three beers would then have a similar effect on our retention and focus.

Side effects of sleep deprivation can also make us dangerous. Reader’s Digest found that “drowsy driving is responsible for 1,550 fatalities and 40,000 nonfatal injuries every year in the United States.” The day after Daylight Saving Time has shown an increase in workplace injuries when the amount of sleep lost is just 40 minutes on average. Sleepy studying may be less of a danger to others than sleepy driving but it is no less of a danger to your future EPPP test score. If a lack of sleep can affect how we function doing daily things such as driving or working, think of the vital EPPP test prep information you are missing out on due to compromised focus and retention while studying on fewer hours of sleep. Staying up late with your EPPP materials, therefore, may be doing much more harm than good.

If that’s not enough, lack of sleep affects your motivation to stay on task. We can gain motivation when we learn to habitually resist distractions. When we’re tired, our ability to resist distraction plummets:

[…] in one study, students, who were deprived of sleep were much more likely to cheat and overreport their performance on a test in order to gain an advantage in a drawing for a cash prize. “In order to behave ethically, we have to be able to resist temptation.”

When we haven’t slept enough and we have less of an ability to deny temptation, we have less motivation to study for the EPPP. Lack of sleep makes it harder to turn off a distracting video game or stay away from social media. So, staying up late tonight could not only affect your ability to learn tomorrow, but it could also affect your ability to commit to that time you have set aside in your study schedule.

Although now you might be convinced of the importance of sleep, you might still find yourself in need of an extra study hour at the end of the day to study. Cutting into sleep could seem like your only option at that point. If this is the case, some reworking of your schedule and sleep habits might be in order. Start by setting a bed time and wake time into your daily schedule. Base it around your study schedule so that you don’t overestimate how much time you have in a day to get through your study sessions.

Sleep is not something that stands in the way of furthering knowledge or being productive. Our brains do not stop working when we do. Sleep and rest give our brains time to store what we put in it so, ultimately, the extra hour of study is just not worth it if it’s cutting into your night of sleep.


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