Sleep Your Way to Better Grades

On my list of things to do, “get more sleep” has been a perpetual squatter.

In my first year of Pharmacy school, I was getting mostly A’s and some B’s, and I was studying long hours in the library.  Going in to the second year, I was feeling great and tried to extend my myself, making sure to get to my son’s Cub Scout meetings, attend soccer practices, and read more for leisure.  Well, I did these things, but at the cost of my sleep.

At the end of my third semester, I didn’t obtain a single A.  You may be thinking that B’s are just fine, and they are.  But the trouble was that I was still pulling the same long hours in the library and late nights at my desk at home.  The difference was that I was wasting my time reading and re-reading information that just wasn’t sinking in.  My working knowledge on heart failure is hardly where I’d like it to be compared to opioids and pain management theory I readily retained from last spring.  I was wasting my time and efforts.

Two weeks ago, I decided to get to bed by no later than 11 or 12 every night.  While I haven’t always been successful, I notice that my recall of therapeutics is higher, and watching my lectures online doesn’t feel like a journey through a never-ending swamp.  Getting to bed at 10 pm the night before an exam like I did last spring has allowed me a clarity on an exam I haven’t had in a while, and last week I achieved my first A on an exam since last September.

Research has shown that chronic sleep deprivation can have a real effect on your working memory.  I encourage anyone who is trying to boost their productivity to aim for eight hours of sleep a night if possible.  You’d be surprised what sleep can do for you.

Of course, making time for loved ones is an important part of being in school, too.  This Valentine’s weekend, I took my wife to Studio Theater in DC to see Constellations, a play about the ups and downs of love and life between a bee-keeper and a cosmologist.  It was a bit pricey, but I totally milked my student discount.  Get out and see this cozy, intimate, and emotional performance if you can.

Finally, this Thursday from 4 until 6pm in the Building II multipurpose room is the Tots, Shots, Connecting the Dots event.  It is a collaboration between the UMB School of Pharmacy and the UMCP School of Public Health, and it will focus on misconceptions and facts about vaccinations.  One of my professors, Dr Jill Morgan, will be taking part in the event.  I’ve enjoyed every one of Dr Morgan’s course lectures during my time at the School of Pharmacy, and I encourage everyone to come out and take part in the community discussion.

Have a great week, stay warm, and I’ll see you around campus.

Sleeping Pug public domain pic

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