Sleep on It

As we approach midterms, it’s increasingly likely that I’ll hear statements like these in halls and classrooms:

I can’t believe how late I stayed up studying last night.

The whole suite was up studying.

I’ve got more than 600 milligrams of caffeine in me right now.

I can’t even crash after class–I have a lab due by eleven.

I realize I am not the poster child for healthy sleep habits; I also know that I drink more caffeine than a person my age should. However, I encourage students to learn two things from my vault of personal experiences. First, if you need caffeine to keep you awake while you’re working on something, the results will probably fall well below the arc of your potential. If you’re not inspired by the assignment or the content, and it’s after midnight, all the saints in the blessed Church of the Red Bull will not make a difference. Accept your fate. Save your GI tract. Get the minimum done as quickly as possible and go to bed–and start earlier next time.

Second, for the love of all things actually holy, do not pull an all-nighter the night before spring break. You’ve got to be able to drive safely home, or to keep your driver awake on the trip.

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22 Responses to Sleep on It

  1. Elijah says:

    I understand that these habits of all-nighters and caffeine drinks could lead to bad results, I would argue it is either the result of the environment or just bad habits. In this school specifically, one has too much to do. Sometimes we really need all night to get things done. And one could argue that one needs to manage their time more, yet I know some of my teachers pulling all-nighters right now because they couldn’t finish grading assignments. We can’t really put the blame on the individual all the time.

    But I also agree in that I have to take the blame for some of the nights I stood up too late. Whether that be streaming anime or breaking bad with my roommate instead of working on Statistics, or quitting an assignment because I will do it later. or having withdrawal symptoms of not having one monster, I am no stranger to these bad habits.

    It is honestly a matter of case by case.

  2. Bill Arnoldus says:

    Caffeine doesn’t help me focus so I stick to using to for when I need to be physically active as it makes me really jittery and restless, the opposite for what I need if I need to concentrate on a paper. If something needs to get done, the best way I’ve found out to do it is to do with a friend as we can snowball off each other and get engaged in the material. Doing work with too many friends can lead to too many off topic conversations so I tend to stick with just a partner.

  3. Eddie Lai says:

    When I reflect on my actions as I sit in my room at 2 AM, working on whatever I am or fighting myself not to fall asleep in class, I do realize that I could have done something different to not be here. I could have done something different this time to make sure I’m on track, but there is a certain fun I do have while wasting time. While it’s not healthy, I do keep on telling myself that it’ll change someday, and I hope it will. Maybe today is the day to seize the moment to become something more, or maybe I need to work until 2 AM one more time to get back on track.

  4. Julia Nguyen says:

    I am not a coffee drinker, but I am a soda person, but only during Lunch and Dinner at the dining hall. Due to my bad habits during semester 1, I have been able to stay up an ungodly hours of the night, fully functional, and able to wake up a perform sufficiently, not my best, but enough. I will sometimes blame myself for putting myself in positions of staying up past 12am, but sometimes it is justifiable. Some weeks are simply too overwhelming where I work all day and night, and will still have to go into the early morning of the next day before I sleep. For example, I spent the whole day studying + taking care of necessary obligations, yet I am sitting here typing up a blog. I, however, have been rather proud of myself. I have taken care of myself this semester, something I neglected to do last semester. Part of which being because I don’t want to become chronically sleep deprived.

  5. Kadie Van says:

    Although an easy solution is to start earlier on an assignment to keep from pulling all-nighters or staying up late, there are other things that may keep a student from doing so. There are many outside activities or mental health issues that may steer away from assignments. As a result, caffeine and late nights come upon almost every student. This, however, is the MSMS experience. Homework and assignments are an important part of that experience, but the friends and memories are equally as important. Doing an assignment late into the night, I think, is worth it if the day was spent making memories that will last a life-time.

    I am not saying pull an all-nighter everyday, but me personally, I go to sleep late quite often, but I make the most of my days. Coffee, however, is not a supplement I use to stay awake. I often take naps during the day if possible if I know I have an assignment or test the next day that I have to study for or do.

  6. Gordon Welch says:

    I agree completely with sleeping once you are tired and it is time for bed. With Spring Break tomorrow, students are easily tempted to stay up late since they know that they can sleep in late on Saturday morning. Planning out your day (not your night) is the true MSMS experience, college preparation isn’t getting used to staying up late at night, but preparing for your day so you can get enough sleep at night. I believe the light use of caffeine is ok during the morning hours, but not during the afternoon or evening hours.

  7. Vishnu Gadepalli says:

    Usually when I stay up past midnight, it’s not because I’m doing work. I don’t really have that much work since I’m only taking 5 classes this semester which are relatively easy. I have ample time during the day which I take advantage of because I tend to not procrastinate since I like to get things done so that I don’t have to do them later. Following room check, I tend to lounge in someone else’s room and next thing I know, it’s been an hour. Once in a blue moon I’ll stay up well into the AM reviewing for a test that I’ve put on the backburner. However I don’t use caffeine because it doesn’t work on me and I just don’t buy energy drinks or coffee like that. Also like Bill said, it’s easier to get stuff done when you are working with someone else because you have help and have there’s someone to hold you accountable. Sleep is valuable and I want as much as I can get, and other people should understand this as well.

  8. Gracyn Young says:

    I am a strong believer in the idea that sleep will accomplish more than staying up and cramming for a test. But that doesn’t mean that I always abide by my beliefs. In fact, most of the time I can’t sleep knowing that I have something to do. And it feels that here at MSMS, I sometimes have too much to do, and even if I manage my time well, I still end up sacrificing some of my sleep to turn in an assignment on time.

    One way I try and combat this is by avoiding waiting until the last minute to do things. That way if a problem arises, I have enough time to catch and fix it, or at least don’t have to go to sleep a little later at night.

  9. Lisa Seid says:

    There’s a lot of teachers that say going to sleep is the best thing you can do. However, I slightly disagree. Going to sleep might be good in the long run but that extra session of studying helps me a lot to ace the test, which also helps my mental health. If I failed the test, I’ll be up all night again wondering how things could’ve gone differently if I studied. I’m glad I never got into caffeine and never will. It’s hard to balance social and work life here at MSMS. After all, you live with your friends, able to be outside for hours at a time, and study with them. You have to pick and choose your battles: FOMO or acing the test?

  10. Jacqueline Sophia Smith says:

    I’m extremely sensitive to caffeine and it honestly just makes me feel like I’m dying or about to start seizing. The advice I have to offer (that was given to me by an AP teacher) if you procrastinate is:

    DO NOT stay up

    DO, go to sleep early the night before something is due. THEN, wake up early the next day. Say, 5:30. If you get ready by 6:00, then you have 2 hours before school (assuming your school started at 8:30) to do some work ahead of time.

    You are driven by the stress that you have to get to school on time, but you do not get more tired as you work. Your efficiency is peaked, you get to tap into your procrastination, and you get your work done. It’s pretty sweet if you can get yourself out of bed.

  11. Jacqueline Smith says:

    The advice I have to give to procrastinators is:
    DO NOT stay up late doing work. (I don’t follow through that often, but it’s worth a shot)
    DO: go to sleep early. THEN, wake up early to do your work the next day. Let’s say you go to school by 8:30. If you go to sleep by 10:00 and wake up at 5:30 you get 7.5 hours of sleep, which is great.

    So, you get your sleep, you are driven by some stress to get your work done on time, AND you don’t get more tired as you work. If anything, you become more productive as time goes on. In this scenario, you get a solid 2 hours of studying done from 6-8 after you’ve gotten ready and before you have to “commute” to school.

    Those 2 hours will be more productive than usual, and this set up forces you to do work ahead of time. If worse comes to worst, you can always revise your work a second time in the afternoon (a chance that is unobtainable if you work until 11:59 pm), you can get last-minute studying in that you can remember, and you’re not sleep-deprived. Another added bonus is that no one will distract you early in the morning. Who is blowing up your phone or making you do chores at 6:00 am? No one. The same can not be said for students who try studying in the afternoon or at night.

  12. Dyllon Martin says:

    A wise person once told me, “Sleep is for the weak. You don’t sleep, be a man and work through the sleep.” These words are probably the only ones I truly listen to. Through countless testing and failed attempts, I have found a study habit that may not be healthy, but it works efficiently. A simple all-nighter can be the deciding factor on whether I pass or fail a test. Now there’s gonna be that one person who tells me, “Well just study through the week instead of cramming the night before.” To this, I say, “Listen, Karen, it works for me and I will use it. Do I have 600mg of caffeine in me right now? Absolutely, but I couldn’t give a rat’s…” You see where I’m going with this. On a serious note, there are better study habits out there and they will benefit in the long run, but sometimes it’s that Hail Mary, or last-ditch effort, that comes out on top. Nevertheless, getting adequate sleep post-all-nighter is needed, and definitely before a long drive home.

  13. Max Feng says:

    I do agree with what is said here, but in reality, it is much more complicated. At MSMS, it is not just about the classwork. It is also about competition-based extracurriculars. In fact, most of my work comes from extracurriculars. These extracurricular projects have hard due dates; if not done in time, it can lead to disqualification. As a result, I usually do not find myself staying up late doing my schoolwork. Instead, I find myself up for these extracurriculars. Sure, these late nights can be due to procrastination, but it is hard to differentiate if an hour playing Spikeball before 4 hours of work is procrastination. Thankfully, I do not rely on caffeine to stay awake. Instead, I take short naps when they are most needed.

  14. Atticus Ross says:

    I very much agree with these statements. I would say I go to sleep at a reasonable time and try not to have to stay up after hours to study or do work. However, there have been some exceptions to this, and I understand that more people with busier schedules end up staying up later than the average human should. I do think it shouldn’t be incorporated into a student’s everyday lifestyle and must be done with caution and as a last resort. I also usually never resort to caffeine as well. Many times as well if I am studying with another person that can lead to prolonged study hours. Overall, I agree and think students shouldn’t sacrifice sleep for their studies, however, I am also a hypocrite and think sometimes it may be necessary to gain a higher grade for a project or test.

  15. Myia Williams says:

    I wholeheartedly concur that getting enough rest is healthier for you than staying up late studying or working on projects. However, at MSMS, starting an assignment or beginning a study session days in advance can still put me in the position of staying up all night before an exam. There is so much work to be done that it prevents you from starting your test preparation early as you had planned. It would also scare me to death to the point where I couldn’t even shut my eyes if I tried to just sleep on it knowing that I have an exam in the morning. I occasionally look at the unit schedule for classes and attempt to study them before we get to the topic to kind of be ahead in case I have an exam in someone else’s class to study for, which helps me avoid staying up all night.

  16. Ava Wilson says:

    I do find, at times, that it is justifiable to stay up til ungodly hours to finish an assignment. With the amount of work we are given, the extracurricular expected, and other expectations set by MSMS it is difficult to get things done as soon as possible. What I typically try to do to at the very least to improve my performance is to do the things that do not inspire me first. I notice that when I do my chemistry labs before my art assignments rather than switched, I perform just as well on my art assignments and better on my chemistry lab. Besides, I would much rather stay up late drawing or writing than doing a Mathematica lab for Dr. Palagi.

  17. Vivian Peng says:

    After coming to MSMS, I really think I’ve found a newfound appreciation for sleep. I try to sleep as much as possible but sometimes sleeping instead of studying isn’t my best choice. Some days I wake up with regret, knowing that I had slept instead of studying. Yet on the other hand, I also feel that same regret in class, when I can’t stay awake due to my lack of sleep. I think a lot of this can be fixed if I just used my time more efficiently. I understand how important sleep is since I’m a zombie without it. I am slowly trying to integrate a better way to fit everything I want to do, and a good amount of sleep.

  18. Bethany Setiawan says:

    For me, pulling an all-nighter truly depends on what I need to study for or what assignment I need to complete. I tend to stay up late studying rather than finishing an assignment. I agree with what Lisa said, balancing a good social and work life at MSMS is quite hard, so it just depends on what you would rather do. Sleeping at a reasonable time has always come easy to me, so I have only done a handful of all-nighters. You would think drinking caffeine would help keep me awake, but in the end, I just find myself falling asleep.

  19. Makayla Houston says:

    I understand that the need to stay up might be the thing on everybody’s mind, but even if you choose to pull and all-nighter it really won’t work in your favor in the end. For me, I only ever pull an all-nighter when I absolutely need to study, if I haven’t had time to do it or when I think I don’t know the material. When there is less on my plate, I can get some shut eye. When it comes to caffeine I agree with Bethany, caffeine only makes me go to sleep instead of keeping me awake.

  20. Raegan Calvert says:

    I’m not sure if this is an actual blog question or a PSA, but I wanted to comment because I believe myself a poster-child for sleep deprivation at MSMS. I have had bad weeks where I would pull an all-nighter one night, then sleep the next, and repeat this cycle back to back to back, and it would continue for about a week until my body literally couldn’t handle anymore and I’d, quite literally, sleep for 16+ hour periods at a time during weekends back to back, only waking up for maybe 30 minutes at a time.

    I will say that, before coming to MSMS, I never fully understood those people who’d say that getting sleep affects EVERYTHING in the body. Yes, I would have so much more time on my hands, but the constant exhaustion made me unable to find any amount of motivation to complete the work I needed to do. I would walk around like a zombie and can’t remember almost anything I did for the days I went through that aforementioned cycle. I am a constant consumer of caffeine and at a certain point, it does nothing but make you nauseous and uncomfortably jittery. However, despite all the awful experiences I have, I still don’t discourage people from pulling the OCCASIONAL all-nighter, if only to teach them a lesson for the next time around. At a certain point, we must admit, that staying up is (most of the time) a way to procrastinate work even further because we feel as if we have even more time throughout the night to get things done (at least, in my experience, anyway.)

    I agree with Dr. Easterling. Get sleep. To go without for so long truly affects one’s entire quality of life and really, REALLY sucks.

  21. Jon Kiesel says:

    Well let me have you see sir, but I rather use my caffeine strategically, making me the superior one of caffeine addicts here on campus. I also find the act of pulling an all-nighter successfully with the same (or better) performance as though one had not properly rested a symbol of power, which I believe is a very attractive quality. Furthermore, I feel the most productive in the middle of the night, and that is why I control of my sleeping patterns with the use of substances, such as caffeine and melatonin. I’m sure you might find it ridiculous, but it’s all a part of the high school and college experience that one simply cannot fathom of doing without, and sometimes, the caffeine usage comes in clutch for the assignments.

    I say all of that ironically and with the arrogance of a formal British person, but I am guilty of pulling some of my own myself, especially last year. Everything I have said are only half-truths and potential reasons for how students here justify themselves risking their daily performances and expend their time in the future in this manner. I do not believe that a lack of sleep actually gains you more time in life, rather losing more time at the end of your life in exchange for what could be needed immediately.

    Also, this post made me chuckle.

  22. Komal Patel says:

    Coffee is not my addiction of choice; instead, in my first semester of MSMS I consumed sugar in an effort to keep me awake. I can safely say my ‘plan’ was ineffective and harmful. Now, pulling an all nighter requires me to fight against my natural instinct to close my eyes. However, sometimes I am successful and am more inclined to use this method to complete a project instead of studying for a test. This is because staying up all night is the absolute worst thing for me to do to be functional for the next day. I learned(through trial and error) that I will do worse on a test, even if I seem confident in the material, if I do not get at least six hours of sleep at night. I was lucky enough to not be driving on my home for Spring Break, and I was able to sleep in the car.

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