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Sleep And Studying - How Do I Optimize My Study Time?

by Imre Simon

Dear Sir/Madame,

At the medical university I am attending we have to study really hard. I do use ginseng and B vitamins to provide my brain enough nutritions, but now I am trying to sleep as less as possible. I want to have the best grades I can.

Do you think 5 hours of sleep each night, or maximum 6 hours is enough for the brain to store the information?

I heard that I just have to start to sleep only 6 hours and my body gets used to it. My exams are two weeks away and I have so much more to study.

What do you think would be the best strategy for me to bring the most out of my study time? I am trying to study all day long.

I am looking forward for your answer,
Best wishes,
Imre Simon

Kevin's Thoughts

Hi Imre, thanks for the question. There are varying points of view on optimizing sleep and productivity, but one thing you always must keep in mind is the trade off in performance that naturally follows sacrificing hours of sleep.

Often this sacrifice of sleep can make it so we actually get less done, despite having more time to do it. Think of instances where you've been reading a text for a course or an exam and your fatigue has prompted your eyes to waver on you or you get to the end of a page and realize you can't recall a single thing you just read on that page. Now think of reading the same text without having any fatigue at all, fully energetic, and imagine the difference in productivity. Not only can you keep your eyes open to read the page, but your mind is alert and sharp enough to make more connections from what you are reading to other things you know, which is the key to remembering it later--for the test and, more importantly, for life.

Above all else, know what you are giving up when you sleep less. Because while you can do it, and while it is necessary in certain situations in school (as a college student I can certainly attest to that too), there is always a trade off involved, whether you notice it or not.

Here's a couple other resources on this site relevant to your question that may help you on your quest:

Understanding The Basics Of Sleep Debt

The Effects of Sleep Deprivation

Good luck and happy studying!

Comments for Sleep And Studying - How Do I Optimize My Study Time?

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Mar 28, 2011
trying to study, however cant remember what I studied and all I want to do is sleep
by: Anonymous

I am trying to Study through correspondence, I am not a student, work full time, Come home do house work. When I do eventually sit down, I restart the text book from the 1stthe module and only get up to 3rd module , trying to get past the 3rd module of this course and cannot seem to achieve that. Tried studing on weekends, but all I want to do is sleep, and what I have studied from module 1 to 3, I cannot remember a single thing.
How can I over come this?
Desperate, I am going into an anxiouty mode as I am not able to move forward.

Mar 28, 2011
Can't Study
by: Kevin Morton

If you're being pulled that strongly to sleep it means your sleep debt is too high to study very effectively. Listen to your body, get more sleep consistently to lower your sleep debt, and then your concentration and focus will improve for studying.

For more info on sleep debt:

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