Swamp Talk: Sleep Studying

By Sarah Loftus

I have a problem; it’s something I’ve struggled with during previous semesters, but it’s gotten so much worse this semester.

I fall asleep while studying at night, only to wake up at 2, 3 or even 4 a.m. fully clothed with my head resting on my pillow which is on top of my laptop or books. The light’s on, and my feet are cold because I’m not under the covers.

Exhausted, I quickly get up, change into pajamas, shut the light off and crawl back into bed.

The worst part- I remember that I didn’t finish editing that story or reading that book that I was working on when I fell asleep.

Why does that happen to me so much?

It’s partly because I study on my bed, and my days are long; I get up early and usually don’t get home until 8 or 9 p.m. when I then have to try to do hours of homework.

But let’s be real- a lot of this is my fault. I commit classic college procrastination mistakes every day.
Sound familiar? Don’t lie; I’m sure it does.

Don’t feel ashamed; we’re going to go over those common errors and ways to correct them because getting a bad night sleep and not being prepared for class totally sucks.

1. Waking up early, and squandering that time. Guilty as charged. On the rare occasion that I get up early, I typically lay in bed pondering the meaning of life. Just kidding; I usually just think about how much of a struggle that day is going to be and how much I’d rather stay home and watch Netflix.
The fix- Use that time to at least prepare for your classes that day, even if you’re not starting new readings or assignments.

2. Wasting valuable time in between classes. Some days, I get a lot done between classes; other days- not so much. The problem? I don’t get things done sometimes because those are the days I haven’t set a clear agenda for myself.
The fix- At the beginning of the day, decide what you’re going to get done. Make it a reasonable list; otherwise, you’ll just get overwhelmed, and hold yourself accountable. Tell yourself you can’t take a lunch break until you get a certain amount of things done or whatever else will motivate you to get stuff done.

3. Choosing the wrong place to study. I may be really weird for this, but I promise you I can only study for certain things in certain places. Sounds neurotic; I know. Library West for big papers. I go to Marston Science Library when I have large amounts of reading. The Reitz Union is for basic homework. But before I figured all that out and even sometimes still when I switch to something different without switching locations, I just get so distracted and no work gets done.
The fix- Experiment with different locations until you have a weird system like I do that lets you know exactly where you need to be to get work done.

4. Deciding that you deserve a break when you get home. It starts off as a 25-minute break to watch the latest episode of “The Big Bang Theory,” but quickly turns into a two-hour break when I remember that I haven’t watched the most recent episode of “Modern Family” either. And since I’m in the mood for watching TV, I decide to watch an episode of that show I don’t really like that much but convince myself I do like because I don’t want to study.
The fix- Exert your will, and force yourself to get at least something productive done before you take a break. If you have little self-control, like I do 99 percent of the time, stay out and study until you’ve gotten enough done that you can take that break when you go home.

5. Studying on your bed. It’s far too late for me on this; as studying on my bed is something I started many years ago. I believe I was in middle school, possibly even elementary school when I began this bad habit. But it’s not too late for you.
The fix- Study at your desk. This won’t necessarily help you stop procrastinating, but at least you’ll actually move to your bed, turn off the light and put your pajamas on when you want to sleep.

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