Butting heads: All-nighters vs. going to bed early

All-nighters: stressful but necessary

For a master procrastinator, like myself, nothing beats pulling an all-nighter to focus on finishing assignments. I know some people value a good night’s sleep before a big project or an exam, but I’m absolutely the most productive from 10 p.m. to 4 a.m. I’m someone who works well under pressure, so the last minute push to complete my work really keeps me awake.  

Nothing beats the quiet that settles in during the early hours of the morning. Between writing for the Cigar, my job as an Orientation Leader, my two majors, my friends and my family my phone is constantly blowing up. But in the late night hours, no one contacts me, save for the few Snapchats from my fellow night owls.

Because of my intricate sleep habits, I am definitely not a morning person. As a result, I have the worst time trying to focus on absorbing new information, or really being productive before 11 a.m. “Getting a good night’s sleep” and “waking up early to finish” are not phrases in my vernacular. As Jim Hopper from “Stranger Things” said, “Mornings are for coffee and contemplation,” not finishing studying and expecting to retain information.

I realize that science says sleeping solidifies your memories, but staying awake keeps my mind on tasks and active. Everyone is different, but I know that staying awake and powering through my work is a surefire way to find success. It’s not that I hate sleeping, because I do enjoy a full eight hours if I can, but not when there’s work to be done. I’ll sleep when I’m dead.  

 

Going to bed early: the key to success

The weeks before midterm and final exams are always filled with professors and parents barraging you with advice on how to do well on your tests. Methods such as studying in new locations, chewing gum and writing notes by hand are doled out to students like valuable gems that should be taken gratefully and cherished.

Personally, I think all of that stuff is nonsense. I believe that the best way to study for an exam is to sleep. I don’t put my faith in cheap gimmicks. When it comes to studying I find the best way to be prepared is not to stress.

Spending the whole night before a test pouring over notes only serves to overwhelm the brain with information and in the end it just leads to worse grades on the exam. When you spend so much time going over every detail it becomes easy to second guess yourself. An answer you should have known becomes jumbled and mixed up with facts that you didn’t even need for the test.

If you don’t want to get bogged down by an immense load of information, most of it useless, then start by just relaxing. Take out your notebook, read through it once, and then go to bed. Then, roughly an hour before the test just do a quick review.

Sleep is hands down the best study aid. The way it refreshes your mind and body while cementing the events of the day into your memory is the exact combination needed to pass that midterm you have been worrying too much about.

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Emma Gauthier
Emma is a senior journalism and English double major with a minor in political science from Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She has worked for the Cigar since her first semester at URI as a staff reporter, then web editor, news editor and finally Editor in Chief. Emma also edits for the URI research magazine, Momentum, and hopes to find a career in political reporting upon her graduation in May.