How to Study With a Lack of Sleep

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Going into exam time with a sleep deficit is overwhelming. Seemingly endless days spent reviewing in class are followed by long nights studying instead of sleeping. Experts say you need between seven and nine hours of sleep, on average, according to the Washington Post. If sleep is forced to the bottom of your list of priorities, manage your time, increase your energy and hit the books hard. Get through your exams with a positive attitude, then catch up on well-deserved sleep.

1 Prioritize studying you

Prioritize what studying you must do now and identify what you can postpone until after you have slept. Determine how much time you need to complete the tasks.

2 Gather the supplies you need including textbooks

Gather the supplies you need including textbooks, paper, a calculator and notes. Tracking down missing supplies after you start studying uses up valuable energy and time.

3 Break for every hour of studying

Schedule one 5-minute study break for every hour of studying. Use breaks to clear your head by stepping outside for fresh air. Take a walk or use the bathroom. Check the clock frequently to stay on track.

4 Prepare snacks

Prepare snacks that are high in protein to help your energy last longer. Nuts, cheese and meat are good sources of protein. Drink plenty of water while you are studying.

5 Remove all distractions from your study space

Remove all distractions from your study space, including cell phones, television and study partners, if they cannot stay focused. Music may help if it is loud enough to keep you awake, but not too distracting.

6 Choose a study space

Choose a study space that is well lit, comfortable and has the supplies that you need. Do not study in bed or in furniture that is overstuffed if you are already sleepy. Sit upright with a smooth writing surface in front of you, so you can spread out your books and supplies.

7 Start immediately

Start immediately, once your plan is in place. Focus on what you have set out to accomplish and take pride in executing the plan. Don't dwell on the fact that you have to study without enough sleep.

  • Do not try to energize with energy drinks, caffeinated soda or sugar to get through your study session. The energy from such drinks is short-lived and the rebound exhaustion that follows is extreme.
  • If you find that you already know some information, adjust your study schedule to use the extra time effectively.

Jennifer Dermody started writing in 1992. She has been published in "Running Wild Magazine," "The Green Book" environmental bid journal and local publications in the areas that she has lived all over the world. She is currently a licensed Florida real estate agent. Dermody earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in communications from Regis College in 1993.