Sleep before exams, don't study all night

Nov. 24, 2012 at 1:56 AM   |   Comments

HOUSTON, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Many students will be pulling all-nighters to prepare for final exams, but U.S. researchers say a good night's sleep may be a better idea.

Dr. Philip Alapat, medical director of the Harris Health Sleep Disorders Center and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine, recommends students study throughout the semester, set up study sessions in the evening because it is the optimal time of alertness and concentration and get at least 8 hours of sleep the night before exams.

"Memory recall and ability to maintain concentration are much improved when an individual is rested," Alapet said in a statement. "By preparing early and being able to better recall what you have studied, your ability to perform well on exams is increased."

College-aged students ideally should get 8 to 9 hours of sleep a night, but most students generally get much less, Alapat said.

"Any prolonged sleep deprivation will affect your mood, energy level and ability to focus, concentrate and learn, which directly affects your academic performance," Alapat said.

The occasional all-nighter mixed with the consumption of caffeinated beverages and students are at risk for developing insomnia, as well as increased risks for alcohol abuse and motor vehicle accidents, the study said.

Young adults should recognize chronic sleep deprivation might contribute to development of long-term diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart disease, Alapat said.

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