Get some sleep

Experts weigh in on ways to get enough sleep during finals week


With finals around the corner, some students and faculty are starting to feel the stress pile on.
Prenursing freshman Heidi Foley said with stress comes sleep deprivation. Her solution — drink a lot of coffee.

“To stay up, I drink a lot of coffee or sometimes, I run around to get myself going again,” Foley said. “Next week, I probably won’t get that much sleep. It’s crunch time, but when it’s all over, I will crash.”

Maggie Mack, medical assistant for the Lansing unit of the Mid-West Center for Sleep Disorders, said students should be careful because lack of sleep can shorten attention span, which affects grades and school work.


Have a regular sleeping schedule: go to bed and wake up at the same time
Avoid alcohol and medications
Keep a record of sleep and daytime activities

Don’t drink any caffeine or energy drinks after 6 p.m.
Don’t nap during the day
Don’t keep checking the clock if you cannot sleep

Source: Maggie Mack, medical assistant for Lansing Mid-West Center for Sleep Disorders

“This can affect students missing classes, having hallucinations, declines in metabolism and weight gain,” Mack said.

Although lack of sleep can be traced to stimulants from coffee and energy drinks, anxiety also causes sleep loss, Mack said.

“Quick fixes like caffeine or energy drinks are not the answer,” Mack said.

Foley said she has pulled two all nighters this year so far, but when it hits the 4 a.m. mark, it is hard to keep going.

“When I know I have to stay up all night, I get the feeling that I have to buckle down and get stuff done,” Foley said. “If it’s 4 a.m. and it’s not clicking at that point, it’s not going to at all.”

English Language Center professor Dawn Atkinson said students who have done well in her classes are starting to show more signs of sleep deprivation.

“The students who have done well have been studying all semester and are now studying even more,” she said. “For those students, I cut them some slack and I say ‘Go get some sleep.’”

Atkinson also is experiencing pressure and lack of sleep during this time of year.

“This semester I am not very stressed, but I tend to be sleep deprived anyway,” Atkinson said. “I have been teaching for a long time, so I am good at pacing myself so I don’t have a huge workload.”

For students who are not able to find solutions to their sleeping problems, in an email interview staff psychologist for the MSU Counseling Center Jen Grzegorek said there are Sleep 101 seminars on campus to provide tips to help them sleep better.

“Sleep is thought to be the time when the brain consolidates memories; improves alertness, immunity and performance; and generally restores the body to optimal functioning,” Grzegorek said. “The seminar covers the basics about sleep – the stages, sleep debt, how to nap properly and
so forth.”

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