Do you find yourself feeling tired or sleepy throughout the day? You may not be getting enough rest. Most people require eight hours of sleep a night, but with their busy lifestyles, many students end up getting less sleep than they should. What does sleep have to do with acing your examinations? Let’s hear it from the best Biology tutor in Singapore.
How Does a Good Sleep Help Me Study?
Apart from making you feel rested, the tutors at our Biology tuition centre in Singapore believe that sleep plays an important part in helping students do well in their studies. When you sleep for long enough, your body enters a state called deep sleep, in which your body repairs its own damaged cells and grows new ones. This is why children need plenty of deep sleep to grow. On top of physical growth though, deep sleep also aids in mental growth.
During deep sleep, the brain processes new pieces of information from the day, which strengthens them and converts them from short-term memories into long-term memories. This process is crucial to remembering everything you study when taking an examination. That’s why you should never burn the midnight oil and try to cram last-minute studying as opposed to getting a good night’s sleep, as you simply would not be able to remember everything you study without enough deep sleep to complement it.
Additionally, getting sufficient deep sleep is shown to decrease your risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. When we enter deep sleep, the glial cells in the brain work to remove toxins and waste products from the brain cells. One such toxin is called beta-amyloid, which is present in abundance in the brains of those with Alzheimer’s disease. Lack of sleep means that not enough beta-amyloid is removed. What’s more, your glial cells can malfunction if you are sleep-deprived, causing them to remove both healthy and damaged brain cells – a precursor to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
What are Circadian Rhythms?
Circadian rhythms are the basis of our sleep cycles. Have you noticed that you tend to feel sleepy around a certain time each day? This is your body’s circadian rhythm kicking in. We usually feel most tired at night and during mid-afternoon as our energy levels fluctuate according to our natural clock. It is our body’s way of telling us when we should rest.
Getting plenty of sleep helps to regulate these “sleepy times” and reduces the effect you feel from your energy drops. On the other hand, if your body is sleep-deprived, you may end up feeling the sleepiness much more in the middle of the day.
The circadian rhythm is regulated by the hypothalamus in our brains. At night, when it is dark, the light receptors in our eyes send messages to the hypothalamus to release the hormone melatonin, which makes us feel sleepy. It takes about an hour on average after melatonin is released for a person to fall asleep.
When you stay up unusually late, this can disrupt your circadian rhythm. Whether you are studying late, engrossed in a book or out at a party, this disruption to your body’s cycle can inhibit your ability to concentrate and study. You may also feel tired and easily irritable, and have trouble paying attention or remembering things. This is the same effect that occurs when one gets jetlag.
Bad Habits That Can Disrupt Your Sleep Cycle
From young, you have probably been told not to stay up too late, but how exactly does staying up late affect your sleep cycle?
Well, no matter what time you sleep and wake up, the most important thing is to keep it consistent – meaning to sleep at roughly the same time and wake at roughly the same time each day. This keeps your body on a regular 24-hour clock. As such, you may find that even if people work night shifts, their rest and performance are not necessarily jeopardised.
For students, however, sleeping in is not always a luxury. It can be difficult for teenagers to get up before 9 in the morning, yet students are usually expected to be in school by 7:30. Many students relish the opportunity to sleep in on weekends when they have no morning classes. However, for a student to get their consistent eight hours of sleep, it is best that they sleep early so that they can get up early, even on weekends.
One of the biggest culprits behind many a late night is the light from the screens of our devices. Phones, computers and tablets all emit blue light, which delays your melatonin release, thus making you less sleepy. In fact, the alertness may continue even after you go to bed, causing you to wake up in the middle of the night. If you experience interrupted sleep, consider whether you have been using your phone or another device excessively before sleep. It is possible that looking at your screen for too long is causing you to have a poorer quality of sleep.
Found this article useful? For more science-proven studying tips, check out our Biology tuition centre in Singapore!