How to get back on track after reading week:
It’s easy to get off track after reading week, but with only four more weeks in the term until exam week, it’s important more now than ever to make sure we have a set routine. First, SLEEP. A sleep schedule is paramount to being able to come to finals successfully. From someone notorious for working tough the nights into the early morning on finishing assignments or outlining, now is the time to get your sleep schedule back under control. Motivation through the last push of the semester can sometimes be challenging to find with everything going on at once. But routine will get you through. Once you have a set routine, you get accustomed to waking up, eating, exercising, sleeping and studying at a particular time. It will become second nature.
Resetting a sleep schedule can take time, but there are a few tips I can give you to help make sure you are rested and able to work at your best potential. Set a screen time cut-off on your phone. I know it is easy to keep scrolling on Facebook and TikTok late into the night, but I bet you will be surprised if you look at your screen time history with social media. Even if there are times when you ignore the timer or press snooze for another 15 minutes, at least you are aware of the time you are spending online.
I have always admired people who can “shut off” their brains and go to sleep at the end of the night or sit down and nap anywhere. Unfortunately, I do not have that talent, so I implement a wind-down period every night. About an hour before I go to bed, I try to ensure I avoid doing stimulating tasks, like finishing coursework or watching the last episode of Love is Blind. Reading is usually my go-to. Not only can I relax before bed, but I can also get in some crucial self-care time.
Additionally, take a severe look at caffeine intake and diet. I know you’ve heard it a million times, but there is some severe benefit to considering how your diet affects your productivity and sleep. Caffeine can stay in your body for 8 hours after it is consumed. Therefore, try and have all your caffeinated beverages before noon. This way, you ensure that your body isn’t receiving extra stimulants. I know this may seem counteractive to the 2-3 pm crash, but we can also counteract that with a slight blood sugar increase from some fruit, granola or yoghurt with honey.
Lastly, keep a note in your phone of nights you didn’t sleep well and you’re believed caused why you either struggle to fall asleep, wind down or continuously woke up in the night. Implementing the following will allow you to do some self-experimentation and pinpoint the commonalities to see what you can change with your routine to improve your sleep.