Let’s take a moment to talk about sleep. Or, really, lack of sleep. Because that is what you should be concerned about going into final exams (and throughout your law school experience). What happens if you don’t sleep?
Let me share with you a story that you might find entertaining. A few weeks ago I tweaked my neck (nothing serious, luckily) and this made it very difficult to sleep. For about two weeks my sleep patterns were interrupted and, well, I was just tired all the time. No matter how much coffee I drank, I didn’t feel like myself. I started to notice a few things, specifically that I was making a lot of mistakes at work and that I was having a harder time trying to focus.
Yet, I pushed on. At the end of last week, my husband and I got up very early to head to the airport to catch a flight back East. We were getting picked up at our house at 6:00 a.m. So I put all the luggage outside. Said goodbye to our cats and told my husband I would set the alarm on the house. I did this and as our (automatically locking) front door shut—I realized that my purse with house keys and all forms of identification were still in the house. What had I done! You cannot fly across the country without identification or return home to a house that you don’t have keys to! Luckily, I have a wonderful friend across town who had a key for our house (and also gets up at 6:00 a.m. each day). She was able to let us in and we made our flight (although it was close).
So what lessons can be learned about lack of sleep?
Well, if you know me pretty well, you know that I don’t do things like that when I have been getting enough sleep. Generally, I am pretty organized and responsible and get out of the house with no problems. But when I am tired, my organization starts to fall apart. Mistakes get made. Luckily, not critical ones.
Now you may be thinking that to do well on your exams you must study all the time. You may think those extra hours of studying are going to do the trick, when in fact they will only add to your sleep debt and hurt your performance on exam day.
Are you having trouble sleeping?
Then try out some techniques to help you relax before bed. Or make sure you are sleeping in a completely dark room. Or if you are incredibly worried, go talk to your doctor. But not sleeping just isn’t a long-term good option.
Want to learn more about sleep and learning?
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