Opinion, Staff Editorial

The case for sleep this syllabus week

A pro-tip for syllabus week: The best nightlife can be found at 1101 Stanford Drive.

It’s a little bit removed from favorites like the Grove, but it’s guaranteed to be the best decision you make this week—a real no-judgement zone, a hidden gem of the campus after-hours scene.

OK, so 1101 is actually a residential college, maybe your residential college. But your abode truly is the best spot to be during syllabus week, a rare moment when your class load and homework is probably the lightest it will be until the holidays roll around. So why don’t we enjoy it to the fullest—from the comfort of our beds?

It might seem like trite advice, but we only repeat it because it’s worth repeating—especially if you’re aiming for better grades this semester. A study from the University of St. Thomas Center for College Sleep found that students grow 10 percent more likely to drop a course with each night of bad sleep (whether that’s not enough hours, or simply subpar snooze quality). For every such night, your GPA also lowers an average of .02 points.

Of course, therein lies a paradox for students who only stay up late because they want better grades, cramming for an exam or finishing up a last-minute project. But that sleep deficit, in the end, has a net negative effect on academic success, as well as sound mental and physical health.

Grades aside, your personal peace of mind alone is reason enough to get some quality shut-eye.

The solution seems simple—just get more sleep! But the college environment doesn’t exactly encourage a healthy seven to nine hours per night. There are things to do, people to see, especially in an environment like Miami’s, where much of the fun barely begins until the rest of the world is turning in for the night.

So enjoy yourself, but love yourself, too. Give yourself a set time to go home, safely. Before you leave for the night, fluff up your pillow, put some water by your bed and make it a comfy, peaceful place to return to. (Also, leave electronics out of the picture. Try meditating, having tea or reading a favorite book to help you fall asleep.)

Try to balance your priorities, planning late-night outings when you don’t have an 8 a.m. the next day. Even though experts recommend waking up at the same time every day (including weekends), this will at least allow you to wake up peacefully—not to a blaring alarm and a mad dash to the shower.

And above all, check on your friends. Sure, no one loves to hear “you look tired,” but when it comes from a place of caring, that’s what counts. If you know a friend has been pushing through lots of sleepless nights—due to work, school or social commitments—encourage them to take a breather and get into a solid sleep routine.

If you or a friend has trouble sleeping, and you aren’t sure why, you can always check with the Counseling Center as well. The university’s “Sleepy Canes” tip page is worth a read, too. For midday yawns, hop into a UC nap pod. One thing is for sure here at school: when it comes to feeling tired, you’re never alone. By normalizing the value of sleep among friends, we can get to a place where naps and early bedtimes aren’t signs of flakiness or laziness. They’re just a part of life, and a terrific one at that.

You may not be able to physically bank sleep, but you can use syllabus week as practice for the really busy days. So set that precedent for yourself.

Sleep shouldn’t be a chore—it’s the most basic means of self-care around. Schedule it like you would meals, classes, games and get-togethers with friends, and you’ll feel a lot better for it.

Editorials represent the majority view of The Miami Hurricane editorial board.

August 20, 2018

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