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Not getting enough sleep could be the number one thing that’s hurting your GPA.
Simply put, if you study while you’re tired your retention rate will be down. I teach students and professionals my Guinness Record winning memory techniques all over the country and sleep deprivation is one thing I just can’t overcome. If the members of my audience are tired or fatigued, even the best memory techniques just won’t stick.
If you’re studying while you’re tired in addition to the fatigue factor that will be holding you back, you’ll also be ingraining bad habits that your body will remember. That’s right! Your body will remember that you were tired while studying and equate that with the act of studying. It’s called State-based Memory or State-Dependent Learning. In other words, things learned in one environment or under one condition are best recalled in that environment or condition. The reverse of being tired while studying is to be an energetic go-getter when working on assignments. Your brain will remember that energy state and will do it again the next time you study.
It gets worse. If you’re tired, slugging down gallons of coffee to stay awake, being constantly interrupted by distractions, and constantly studying in a state of exhaustion, you’re actually training your brain to feel that way in the middle of an exam!
You can help counteract your pre-study fatigue by psyching yourself up to study.
Get energetic. Jump up and down. Movements like this help fill the brain with serotonin which helps your memory and cognitive functions. Deficiencies in serotonin can lead to fatigue, disturbances in sleep patterns like insomnia and frequent waking, and difficulty thinking and concentrating. Do some quick jumping jacks before you study. This may look very weird in the library but they’ll boost your energy levels and get the serotonin pumping. You’ll be surprised at the difference and you’ll be training the brain for high-energy study.
But the best solution of all is to get a good night’s sleep – consistently!
There have been studies that show that while sleeping, your brain processes its memories and decides what to keep and what to trash. If you’re not sleeping well on a consistent basis, your memory, your studying, your performance during exams, and your grades are all going to suffer.
While you’re in college it’s time to form the habit of taking your studies seriously and to learn a study skill or study technique. Successful studying should not be based on effort, and because studying is a skill, effort is not enough. You have to use strategies and methods to maximize your ability and your results. Whether you use my techniques or someone else’, you’ve got to stop winging it, stressing and cramming. Good intentions just aren’t good enough to compete in this global environment.