As a university student, say “hello” to pulling an occasional all-nighter and during exam season, staying up longer than normal. As I write this, I approach exam season, which means I am super close to finishing my first year of university. Now is not the time to celebrate since I still have to make it through my exams. You’ve probably seen it in movies where the university student is pulling an all nighter while drinking coffee, but truth be told, you don’t need coffee to give you that energy kick. In fact, there are a latte ways to stay awake without coffee (crossing my fingers you understood that pun).
Get some sleep
Sleep seems like the obvious choice. I’m not saying you need to get eight hours of sleep every night, since that isn’t realistic for a lot of us. But, let’s keep a few facts in mind. Research shows that lack of sleep not only impacts your brain’s ability to digest and retain information, but it also increases your anxiety and lowers your mood. Those who are more sleep deprived also report feeling less friendly and more irritable. Basically, you should be getting seven to nine hours of sleep per night to be on your A-game the next day!
Whether you’re an early bird or night owl, time management is key to a good sleeping schedule. While power naps can be effective, getting a full seven hours, instead of short naps throughout the day, will serve you better in the long run.
If you plan to go to bed by 10 p.m. plan your day backwards. Think about what tasks you want to complete before you go to bed, that way you can organize your day accordingly.
Things that work for me:
- To-do lists are my best friend. I set a reasonable task load each day to ensure that I get through everything.
- Google Calendar. I live off my Google Calendar ever since starting university. Before making plans, I have to say “give me a second, I let me check my calendar.” Staying organized is your best way to maintain a proper sleep schedule.
Food is fuel
This is another important one. Food is fuel, and you need it to give you energy. My advice is to avoid any greasy foods like burgers and fries (my guilty pleasure) because it will lead you straight to a food coma. You want to avoid this because instead of working on your essay you’ll be too tired to do anything and probably take a nap. Instead, eat healthier foods/snacks like:
On that note, instead of opting for coffee make sure you stay hydrated with water. It’s easy to feel sleepy after a meal due to dehydration. It’s best to have a bottle of water during your study session so that you stay hydrated, but also not needing to get out of your seat because you already have your water by your side.
Move your body
Exercise is one of the best ways to stay alert. When I say exercise I do not mean you need to go on a 5km run, unless you want to, but it can be as simple as going for a walk. Doing a quick stretch between study sessions or taking the stairs instead of the elevator to grab a snack, are small ways to get moving and will help keep you energized.
On that note, over the past year Ryerson Recreation has been hosting Zoom classes for Ryerson students to remain active even while remote learning takes place, which is a bonus for when you become a Ryerson student and are looking for ways to get moving. Whether students are on campus or learning remotely, there are a lot of opportunities to stay active.
These have been a few things that have worked for me, and as a coffee lover I guarantee you drinking coffee for an all-nighter will not be effective to stay awake. Instead, using these tips can be helpful to get you through the school year, especially during midterms and finals.