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Studying Dealing with sleep as a night owl university student?

  1. Apr 7, 2016 #1
    The "10PM - 7AM" sort of sleep just doesn't work for me. I've been getting a lot more studying done by sleeping 2am-8am and napping for as long as I can (which is an unstable 00:10 - 01:20 hours) in the afternoon, but I'm noticing the side effects of sleep deprivation in my cognitive abilities...

    What do you recommend I do, as in a sleeping schedule or getting a more restful night's sleep? I'm currently desperate for a solution because I need to do well in this course... Thank you!
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 7, 2016 #2


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    What do you mean?
  4. Apr 7, 2016 #3
    The typical sleep schedule around those times doesn't work for me because I get way too tired when I'm meant to study (12-4pm) and for some reason I start waking up at 6am for no known reason :/
  5. Apr 7, 2016 #4


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    6 AM isn't a bad time to wake up. I go to bed around 9 PM and wake up at 5-6 even on weekends :biggrin:

    Anyway, you shouldn’t be getting so tired as you describe. However, from the information you have offered, it seems as though you get very tired, regardless of when you go to bed. Seven hours of good sleep is just about right, depending on your age. If are seriously worried about this and are noticing the effects of the way you have been doing things, perhaps you should see a doctor or consider other things you are doing?
  6. Apr 7, 2016 #5


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    Drinking a lot of coffee can give you an instant boost, but once the caffeine has worn away, it can REALLY drain one’s energy, for example. Do you do anything like that, perhaps?
  7. Apr 7, 2016 #6
    I've even had my sleep tracked overnight, and everything is normal. It is just my genes, my fathers side of the family all sleep when the sun is coming up and my grandfather woke up at 11pm to study till 4am and go back to sleep... and it worked since he became the principle :confused:
  8. Apr 7, 2016 #7


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    So you’re saying that your family is … "nocturnal"? And doctors have checked you and have said that there’s nothing wrong? That’s curious. If sleeping during the day is really what’s natural for you, could rearrange your activities so that it’d be all in the “night shift”?

    Or, if you truly desire to sleep during the night, you could possibly try to drink chamomile tea before bed (makes you sleepy ... no, it’s not a drug). Exercise during the day. And make sure to stick to a single bedtime schedule. Your body will get into a routine and sleep when you want it to.

    A human being can't live/function without quality sleep. There has to be something to help you.
  9. Apr 7, 2016 #8
    I've tried all that over and over for about 6 months now... nothing's working. That's why I came to a physics forums for some bro-science :cool:

    Also, I really appreciate your advice!
  10. Apr 7, 2016 #9


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    There isn’t any different “science” here that doctors or other resources available can offer, unfortunately.

    I’m so sorry, maybe another PF member has something they can add, but from what you say, I can’t think of or direct you to anything that can help. Just remember . . .

    1) Sleeping 2 hours before midnight is more better that 4 hours after midnight.

    Do NOT take anything such as coffee or all of those energy drinks because the energy they give is only temporary and, once the caffeine has worn out, it will make you more sleep/drowsy/unable to work. You’ll become dependent on these things and it is NOT the solution.

    3) Eating a very healthy diet will most surely give you more energy. Choose vegetables, legumes, and fruit over other foods. The effects of this good decision may not be as immediate as coffee or such, but the effects are long lasting and will benefit you in other ways, as well.

    I hope you do well in you studies as well as find a lasting solution to your sleep predicament!
  11. Apr 7, 2016 #10


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    Profusely Quarky has some good advice.

    1. You might want to look at why you feel the need to stay up until 2:00 am. Sure, I suppose genetics could be a part of it. Age can also play a role. Apparently adolescents and young adults function better staying up late and sleeping in. But it could also help to really look at your evening routine. Are you studying at 2:00 am and then force yourself to put the books down? Or do you study until midnight and then mindlessly surf the internet for a couple of hours? It can help to cut out screen time for a couple of hours prior to sleep. Reading (books) can help with this.

    2. I second the healthy habits bit. Eat well and get a decent amount of exercise - both cardio and strength training.

    3. Eliminate stress as much as possible. Exercise helps with this - particularly social exercise like sports. Also make sure that you're hanging around positive people that aren't adding to your anxiety - at least as much as you can help it.

    4. Make a habit of writing down TO DO lists. If you write down all the stuff you have to worry about in the morning, the list will be there for you when you wake up and you won't have to keep a jumble of tasks front and centre while you sleep.

    5. Routine, routine, routine. Staying up late on the weekends and then expecting to rise and shine for an 8:00 am class can wreak havoc on your sleep patterns. Try as much as possible for a consistent sleeping pattern.

    6. Is there anything about your sleeping environment that's not working for you? Noisy room mates? Howling wind? Blankets are too hot? Pillow is too soft? I know a lot of these things can be tough to change, especially when you're on a tight budget, but they can make a big difference for some people. It might help to try experimenting.
  12. Apr 7, 2016 #11
    I know the issue, I often stay up till morning for no apparent reason. Even when I succeeded in keeping a rhythm for a week it sometimes happens that I'm just not sleepy.
    When I'm not sleepy I can't lay down and expect to sleep, I'd grab a book and keep reading for hours on end.

    To start on the rhythm I find that it helps to decrease light sources close to bed time. If you have to use the computer try installing f.lux, it changes the color of your screen from blue to red gradually mimicking sundown.
    I also turn of the big light and turn on 2 reading lights, one near the computer screen and one on the other side of the room it seems to help.

    Another trick that might help is exercising closer to bedtime, I tend to go for a run every other day about an hour and half before I go to bed.
    I hope you find a way to get in a conventional pattern, its much easier to keep up with life.
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