What I Learned About Sleep In College
When I was in college, I was taking four night classes and working a full-time day job. Monday and Tuesday every week went well, but when Wednesday came around I was out of energy. After working all day I’d come home to my apartment and tell myself I’d take a short nap. That short nap turned into a marathon of slumber. Three or four hours later I’d awake, look at the bedside clock and realize class had started an hour or two earlier.
This became my habit for the semester and it was disastrous. Because when you take long naps every Wednesday and miss class, the school eventually drops you from that class. The worst part is that I still had to pay the tuition fee, even though I wouldn’t be in attendance or get a passing grade.
By the next semester I had adjusted my schedule, primarily by not loading up on so many classes in the semester. I knew Wednesdays were my weak point in the week, so I chose to not enroll in Wednesday classes.
Another modification I made to my schedule was to take a Friday class, which was difficult to find. Most community colleges in Arizona, where I still live, at least back then, rarely offered Friday classes for the subjects I needed to take.
The lesson I learned from this experience is that you must know your own body, energy levels and commitments. If you’re stretched too thin, then your sleep will suffer. Your body will constantly remind you that you need more sleep. The two biggest giveaways that you need to recharge your sleep levels are fatigue and mental fog. These are signals from your body and brain.
Working college students will benefit greatly from a balanced work-school schedule, understanding that their need for sleep is as important as getting the required passing grade.