The pressures to sleep less than needed are tremendous on college campuses!! I remember I in my first year of college I thought the best time to study was between midnight and 2am! I was very fortunate to take a class called the “psychophysiology of sleep and dreaming” and found out that I had it all wrong. I changed my sleep habits (along with a few study habits), and I went from average grades to straight A’s. I like to describe that my brain became “stickier.” I would re-read the same paragraph at 2 am in the morning, and couldn’t comprehend it or remember it. But at 8am after full night sleep, I could read it something once, understand it, and commit it to memory.
In college, I worked midnights for two years at an advertising agency in the computer room. I ran three large printers producing promotions for car dealerships reminding people of oil changes and things. I carried a full class load while working 40 plus hours to pay my way through. It was a great job in that I could study and nap while the printers were running. It also was great money for kid right out of high school. There was only two people on the night shift, me and another person in a huge office building with one security guard. I still have flashbacks when I walk into large empty office buildings, especially at night. Eventually, I started having real problems staying awake in class and on the highway driving to and from work or to campus. I had a couple close calls falling asleep and running on the shoulder of the highway. My grades and my relationships started to suffer and I became depressed. After two years, I decided to quit the job and devote myself to school while making ends meet another way. I believe that my sleeping patterns were screwed up for a few years after. The funny thing to me these days, is that I’m sure that everything represented by that whole computer room, with 3 printers, 20 computer banks, 10 tape drives all could be done on a simple laptop these days. I still have nightmares about heading into that job at 12 at night.